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Coronavirus

First part of McCormick Place field hospital done

IDPH announces 1,209 new COVID-19 cases, 53 more deaths

Gov. J.B. Pritzker speaks during Friday’s news conference in Chicago to provide updates on the state’s efforts to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus disease, COVID-19, in Illinois. The news event was held in McCormick Place, which is being converted into a 3,000-bed medical facility to hold overflow COVID-19 patients in Chicago.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker speaks during Friday’s news conference in Chicago to provide updates on the state’s efforts to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus disease, COVID-19, in Illinois. The news event was held in McCormick Place, which is being converted into a 3,000-bed medical facility to hold overflow COVID-19 patients in Chicago.

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SPRINGFIELD — Initial steps converting Chicago’s McCormick Place into an alternate care facility are completed, Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Friday.

Patients who have contracted the novel coronavirus disease, COVID-19, could receive treatment there “as soon as next week,” his administration said.

It is one of four in the state. The others are the former Advocate Sherman Hospital Campus in Elgin, Metro South Health Center in Blue Island and Westlake Hospital in Melrose Park.

The field hospitals will help ensure Chicago-area hospitals do not get overwhelmed by a growing number of coronavirus patients.

Illinois is additionally “acquiring” Vibra Hospital in Springfield to treat residents in the state’s central region.

McCormick Place can now treat 500 non-intensive care patients in rooms measuring 10 square feet. Almost 15 nursing stations as well as medical supply storage and pharmacy areas are also finished.

That capacity will increase to 3,000 patients by the end of April, when more beds and medical personnel are added.

“Monumental, round-the-clock dedication got this done before we need it — preparing for saving lives in the event things become as bad as some have predicted,” the governor said in a release.

“From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank the Army Corps of Engineers, the Illinois National Guard, FEMA and all our hardworking union trades people. In one week’s time, the heroes who came together to make this possible built us a facility larger than the largest hospital in Illinois.”

The Pritzker administration said in a release almost 140 contracted personnel from Illinois and other states will staff McCormick Place, which is separated into three units — the one that is completed with tri-walled spaced for up to 500 low-acuity patients; a Unit 2 that will allow for open-space care for up to 1,750 fully mobile, low-acuity patients; and a Unit 3 with negative-pressure isolation pods for up to 750 patients exhibiting high transmission symptoms.

At the same briefing Friday, the Department of Public Health announced an additional 1,209 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Illinois, bringing the state total to 8,904 cases in 64 counties. DeWitt, Effingham and Jersey counties are now reporting cases.

According to a release, 53 residents — in Christian, Cook, DuPage, Kane, Kankakee, Lake and Will counties — died over a 24-hour period. So far, 210 Illinoisans have died from COVID-19.

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