To increase healthcare capacity, new field hospital units are being set up in suburbs outside of Chicago.
One will be outside Vista Medical Center East in Waukegan while the other will be adjacent to the University of Chicago Medicine's Ingalls Memorial Hospital in Harvey.
The goal is to improve patient management and flow at hospitals treating underserved and at-risk patients with confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19, International Medical Corps, a nonprofit that provides relief during disasters, announced Thursday.
The organization is deploying and staffing the units, which are funded by Abbvie, the North Chicago-based medical drugmaker. Having donated $35 million to COVID-19 relief, Abbvie is covering the procurement of tents, equipment and supplies—as well operating expenses—for 20 such field hospitals nationwide through the end of the year.
The Waukegan and Harvey hospitals were selected based on community need, including factors like homelessness and access to insurance, International Medical Corps spokesman Todd Bernhardt said in an email.
The unit at Vista Medical Center East is scheduled to be built within 12 hours on Friday. It will be used "to expand triage capabilities, improve patient flow and keep COVID-19 patients separated from other patients," according to a joint statement from International Medical Corps and the hospital. Clinical volunteers will help "alleviate potential workforce strain due to increased demands and patient volumes," the statement says.
Meanwhile, the Ingalls Memorial Hospital unit is scheduled to be built early next week
In addition to the Chicago area, units are being deployed in Los Angeles, New York, Detroit and two cities in Puerto Rico, according to the statement.
The field hospital units from International Medical Corps and Abbvie are in addition to the city's alternate care facilities at the McCormick Place convention center and the handful of closed hospitals that have been reopened during the outbreak.
This story first appeared in our sister publication, Crain's Chicago Business.