The city of Chicago has partnered with five hotels to house some quarantined people and isolated coronavirus patients, as well as others who need assistance.
This establishes a capacity of more than 1,000 patients by Tuesday and likely 2,000 by the end of the week, thereby relieving the burden on Chicago hospitals and allowing them to focus their critical beds on those patients that need acute care.
Hotel operations staff will be properly trained for this situation and will not directly interact with quarantined guests — that will be the responsibility of public health employees, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said at a news conference on Monday.
Lightfoot said she plans on working up an agreement with Metro South Medical Center in Blue Island, Illinois, to utilize its currently vacant hospital facility, which will open up an additional 200 rooms that will become available starting this Thursday.
The mayor said Chicago created its plan based on what worked in other countries to respond to immediate medical needs where it is necessary to isolate and quarantine individuals who are at risk to slow the spread of coronavirus.
Three Chicago YMCA locations and other city-wide organizations are "stepping up to support individuals experiencing homelessness" by opening up their doors to the at risk homeless community in Chicago, Mayor Lightfoot said. The mayor pointed out that the homeless population are particularly at risk due to the social distancing required to best combat the spread of coronavirus and as a result Chicago shelters are facing new challenges related to space and capacity.