Chicago to rent hotel rooms, reopen MetroSouth Medical Center to house quarantined COVID-19 patients
The city of Chicago plans to rent thousands of hotel rooms and reopen a recently-shuttered hospital to house quarantined COVID-19 patients, officials announced Monday.
Under the plan, the city expects to have roughly 2,000 rooms rented by the end of the week for individuals who do not require hospitalization. They will complete their isolation in the hotel rooms under the supervision of staff led by the city’s Department of Public Health.
“We don’t want to have to admit them and use a hospital bed just because there isn’t somewhere safe for them to stay,” said Chicago Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady.
Also, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said the city has reached an agreement to use the MetroSouth Medical Center in Blue Island to house up to 200 patients. The facility, which closed last September, is expected to be operational by Thursday.
“By working in tandem with healthcare experts and local organizations to increase capacity for those affected, we have been able to develop innovative solutions to ensure every resident, regardless of status or where they live, are able to obtain the care and refuge needed to prevent the spread of this disease and keep every Chicagoan safe and secure,” Lightfoot said.
Downtown’s Hotel One Sixty-Six is the first hotel to begin accepting individuals. Lightfoot said Monday afternoon they were finalizing deals with other hotels.
All hotel employees who work during this period will be properly trained and will not directly interact with patients. Lightfoot did not provide an exact cost, telling reporters the cost at just one of the hotels will be about $1 million for a “30-day burn rate.”
Officials also announced Monday that the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago will create 400 additional shelter beds at several of its shuttered facilities so homeless individuals can be housed at least six feet apart. An additional 500 beds at other sites are anticipated later this week.
“In partnership with the city and other community-based organizations, the Y is proud to step up to provide needed shelter in YMCA locations across the city that have been shut down by COVID-19,” said Richard Malone, president and CEO of the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago.
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