information provided by the Office of the Governor
CHICAGO, Ill. (April 4, 2020) – On Friday, April 3, Governor JB Pritzker joined Mayor Lori Lightfoot, the US Army Corps of Engineers, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Illinois National Guard, and the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority (MPA) to announce the completion of the first phase of work to transform the McCormick Place Campus into a new Alternate Care Facility (ACF) 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 healthcare system.
Phase One of the project provided 500 10’ X 10’ patient rooms furnished with beds and basic healthcare items, 14 nursing stations, and fully built-out support rooms for medical supply storage, pharmacy, and housekeeping services. Medical personnel are already prepared to staff these 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 healthcare professionals will be added as the facility takes shape.
“In one week’s time, the heroes who came together to make this possible built us a facility larger than the largest hospital in Illinois,” said Governor Pritzker at today’s press briefing.
For McCormick Place to be functional for patients in a clinical setting, the space has been divided into three separate units. All three units will be equipped with nurses stations and support rooms to treat patients in various types of care settings. Unit 1 will provide initial capacity for 500 patients, with tri-walled spaces for low-acuity patients. Unit 2 will provide capacity for 1,750 patients, with open-space care for fully mobile, low-acuity COVID-19 patients. Lastly, Unit 3, will provide negative-pressure isolation pods for up to 750 patients exhibiting high transmission symptoms.
The ACF will be led by Dr. Nick Turkal, a former Advocate Healthcare CEO and the newly named Executive Director of McCormick Place Alternate Care Facility. Turkal will be joined by Martin Judd who will serve as Chief Operating Officer, and Dr. Paul Merrick who will serve as clinical advisor for the facility. They will oversee the daily operations and ensure the safety of all patients and workers in the facility.
Construction is being managed by the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority (MPEA) with support from USACE, FEMA, and the Illinois National Guard. Walsh Construction drove the estimated $15 million project. The buildout for this project will be funded by the federal government.
Healthcare workers looking to serve can sign up at www.illinoishelps.net.