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Officials announce completion of first phase of McCormick Place field hospital

Officials announce completion of first phase of McCormick Place field hospital

Work has been completed to install the first 500 temporary hospital beds at Chicago’s McCormick Place, officials announced Friday.

The facility will house COVID-19 patients with “moderate to mild” symptoms. The center is expected to house a total of 3,000 hospital beds by the end of the month.

Officials stressed during a press conference Friday that the field hospital will not replace existing hospitals. In a best-case scenario, Gov. JB Pritzker said no patients will ever be admitted to McCormick Place.

“If no patient ends up at McCormick Place, then we will have done our job,” he said.

The field hospital operations will be overseen by Dr. Nick Turkal, the former co-CEO of Advocate Aurora Health. Pritzker said they have recruited nearly 140 healthcare workers to staff the first 500 beds.

Officials have previously said they plan to open temporary field hospitals at three closed hospitals: Westlake Hospital in Melrose Park, the old Advocate Sherman Hospital in Elgin and MetroSouth Medical Center in Blue Island.

Pritzker announced Friday that Springfield’s Vibra Hospital, which closed last year, will also be reopened as a field hospital to provide additional bed space in central Illinois.

As of Friday morning, 16,489 of the state’s 27,991 total hospital beds were in use. Additionally, 1,877 of the state’s 2,683 ICU beds were in use. Illinois hospitals were treating 2,984 COVID-19 patients.

Meanwhile, state officials reported 53 more deaths Friday, bringing the state’s total to 210. There were 1,209 new cases, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 8,904 in 64 counties. There have been 48,048 individuals tested in Illinois.


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