Gov. JB Pritzker joined Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and a number of other officials Friday afternoon to announce the completion of the first phase of work to transform the McCormick Place Campus into a new alternate care facility for COVID-19 patients.
The facility is constructed to serve COVID-19 patients who do not require intensive care, to expand existing capacity in Chicago’s health care system.
The first phase of the project, completed Friday, provided 500 patient rooms furnished with beds and basic healthcare items, 14 nursing stations as well as support rooms for medical supply storage, pharmacy and housekeeping services.
Gov. Pritzker says medical personnel are already prepared to staff the first 500 beds, with nearly 140 contracted individuals and counting from around Illinois and the nation.
By the end of April, the full site will bring an additional 3,000 patient rooms online; hundreds more health care professionals will be added as the facility takes shape.
The state is closely tracking hospitalization data across the state and is continuing to prepare for a rapid increase in hospitalizations.
As part of this approach, the state is working to stand up multiple additional facilities, which Gov. Pritzker spoke about on Thursday.
McCormick Place will be the state’s largest alternate care facility and one of the largest facilities of its kind in the nation.
The facility will be led by Dr. Nick Turkal, a former Advocate Healthcare CEO and the newly named Executive Director of McCormick Place Alternate Care Facility.
Meanwhile, Gov. Pritzker announced 1,209 news cases of COVID-19, bringing the state's total confirmed case count to 8,904.
Gov. Pritzker also announced 53 additional deaths, bringing the state total to 210.
Cases have been reported in 64 counties; DeWitt, Effingham and Jersey counties are now reporting confirmed COVID-19 cases.
The age of cases ranges from younger than one to over 100 years old.