CHICAGO, Ill. (WTVO) — At a press conference on Monday, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said the number of coronavirus cases is doubling every two to three days.
The mayor painted a grim picture of what the next several weeks could look like, saying the city is looking at up to hospitalizing 40,000 people.
To that end, Governor JB Pritzker, Mayor Lightfoot, the US Army Corps of Engineers and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) today announced plans to convert part of the McCormick Place Convention Center into a 3,000 bed facility for COVID-19 patients with mild symptoms who don’t require intensive care.
“Based on science, data, and the guidance of health experts, our approach to fighting this virus is two-pronged: suppress the spread and increase hospital capacity to meet the need,” said Gov. JB Pritzker.
To expedite construction, Governor Pritzker has also activated 30 Airmen from the Illinois National Guard to assist with the general labor associated with the project. The buildout of the facility will be supported by $15 million in federal funding from FEMA to support the Army Corps’ construction plan.
Illinois is distributing the rest of the state stockpile of personal protective equipment (PPE) to 96 health departments and 155 hospitals, including 700,000 masks 108,000 gowns, 95,000 surgical masks, 887,000 gloves, 32,000 safety glasses, and 50,000 face shields.
For all personal protective equipment (PPE) donations, email PPE.firstname.lastname@example.org. For health questions about COVID-19, call the hotline at 1-800-889-3931 or email email@example.com. Medically trained professionals able to volunteer are asked to sign up at www.illinoishelps.net.
The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 461 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, and 8 recent deaths.
Currently, IDPH is reporting a total of 5,057 cases, including 73 deaths, in 52 counties in Illinois. The age of cases ranges from younger than one to 99 years.
Gov. Pritzker said he was considering extending the executive Shelter in Place order and closing all schools, and is looking at mathematical models on the virus’ spread each day.