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Polish military medical team joins Illinois' virus response

  • Published
  • By Illinois National Guard

SPRINGFIELD, Illinois – Nine members of the Polish military’s Medical Corps are in Chicago for 10 days to support the state’s response to COVID-19.

The Polish doctors, nurses and emergency medical technicians recently treated COVID-19 patients in Italy and Poland. They are visiting Illinois as part of the Illinois National Guard’s State Partnership Program with the Polish military.

“The Illinois National Guard has been on the frontline of our state’s fight against the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, alongside our health care workers and first responders,” said Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker. “We look forward to welcoming medical professionals from Poland and learning from their experience leading the coronavirus response efforts in both Poland and Italy. Illinois and Poland have shared a strong relationship for decades and by continuing to work together, we can help save the lives of Illinoisans.”

Piotr Janicki, consul general of the Republic of Poland in Chicago, also spoke of the strong ties between Illinois and Poland.

“With rising concerns over the coronavirus spreading in Illinois, strong alliances, wise decisions and determined efforts remain of utmost importance,” Janicki said. “Therefore, the Polish military medical services are here to bring help at the time of need.”

The Polish medical team will observe, advise and assist at medical facilities in the Chicago area until May 2. The team will share the lessons it learned and best practices from COVID-19 response efforts in Poland and Italy.

“The Polish military’s support to us here in Illinois during a global pandemic is a testament to the depth and commitment on both sides of our state partnership with Poland,” said Brig. Gen. Richard R. Neely, the adjutant general of the Illinois National Guard. “We value the long-standing, enduring friendships we’ve established with the Polish over more than 26 years. Illinois National Guard Soldiers have fought side-by-side with Polish Soldiers in both Iraq and Afghanistan, and now we fight a whole different type of enemy together.”

The Illinois National Guard’s state partnership with Poland was initiated in 1993 and is one of the oldest and most robust partnerships. Polish military forces have co-deployed with Illinois National Guard units to operations in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2003, contributing more than 35,000 troops to both operations.