While its mayor and police chief were both diagnosed with the coronavirus last month, the city of Aurora, Illinois, has seen relatively few of cases of COVID-19.
Illinois’ second-largest city, with a population of about 200,000 residents, Aurora had 244 confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of Thursday evening, with five deaths attributed to the virus.
The city says those numbers are staying low because of a quick and comprehensive local response, even as some of its top officials tested positive for the virus themselves.
“We immediately went right to virtual reality” said Aurora Fire Chief Gary Krienitz, who heads up the city’s emergency operations center. “The whole goal of everyone in the city here is to make sure we had policies developed, that we followed the best science out there.”
But Krienitz says that, like other cities and towns across Illinois, Aurora has struggled to find enough personal protective equipment for front-line workers.
“We’re all fighting for it. We immediately started ordering from multiple vendors, we put four large orders in with four vendors, different vendors, to see who could get us our stuff first,” Krienitz said. “We had to find them on our own, and we have a staff member … who all day long, that’s all he does, is try to place orders.”