McCormick Place field hospital now accepting COVID-19 patients

The temporary hospital, still being built in stages, will eventually have a 3,000-patient capacity.

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A patient room at the COVID-19 alternate care facility in Hall C at McCormick Place in Chicago, Friday, April 17, 2020.

A patient room at the COVID-19 alternate care facility in Hall C at McCormick Place in Chicago, Friday, April 17, 2020. | Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times

Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times

City officials confirmed Friday that the COVID-19 field hospital at McCormick Place has started accepting patients.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s office on Friday said the facility has taken in five patients, although they called the situation “fluid.”

The alternate-care facility is being built to handle an overflow of patients from the city’s hospitals. Patients began arriving Tuesday.

“The area hospital system is not at full capacity right now,” said Mary May, a city spokeswoman. “However, the ACF, as part of its preparation and training, did begin accepting patients from Chicago-area hospitals.”

Three wings in McCormick Place are being retrofitted with hospital beds, tents and nursing stations to treat coronavirus patients. Each wing represents a different level of illness.

Authorities have said the facility is being built in stages, with up to 3,000 beds planned.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Pritzker were among the officials who toured the facility Friday.

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