Lightfoot warns warm weather violence could add additional strain on Chicago’s hospitals
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot expressed concern Wednesday that a recent uptick in violent crimes in the city could cause even more stress on the city’s healthcare infrastructure as it prepares for the expected peak of new coronavirus cases.
Between Sunday and early Wednesday, officials said there were 13 homicides and 25 non-fatal shooting victims. While the violence is never acceptable, Lightfoot said it becomes even more pressing as hospitals need whatever open space they have to treat COVID-19 patients.
As of Monday, less than 25 percent of the city’s intensive care unit beds were available, according to data released by the Illinois Department of Public Health.
“In the middle of this worldwide pandemic, our precious health resources need to be treating COVID-19 patients and those needing acute care,” Lightfoot said.
Officials also announced Wednesday that the city will place a citywide curfew on the sale of liquor products to ensure compliance with the state’s stay-at-home order.
Beginning Thursday, all liquor sales will be cut off at 9 p.m. Businesses that do not cooperate are subject to fines and possible arrest and revocation of liquor and other licenses.
“Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, we have taken every possible step to keep our residents safe, and today’s order builds on that effort by further ensuring residents stay at home and therefore, save lives,” Lightfoot said.
Gov. JB Pritzker said during his Wednesday press conference that he was not considering a similar policy statewide. It would be up to each city’s mayors and local officials to make that decision, he said.
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