A new field hospital is being planned for Chicago to address an expected surge in patients as COVID-19 spreads.
In addition to McCormick Place, one of the nation's largest convention centers, which is being turned into a makeshift hospital by the Army Corps of Engineers, a not-for-profit that provides relief during disasters intends to establish at least one mobile field hospital in Chicago.
Locations have not been decided yet, but a representative for International Medical Corps, or IMC, said the units will be located on existing hospital campuses to help frontline providers improve "patient flow and treatment."
IMC is deploying 20 such units in cities across the country to increase health system capacity, according to a March 31 statement from AbbVie, which is funding the initiative.
The North Chicago drugmaker has donated $35 million to COVID-19 relief. It's funding the procurement of tents, equipment and supplies, as well operating expenses, for all the IMC field hospitals through the end of the year, the statement says.
Each 810-square-foot mobile hospital, which can be set up in about six hours, will be equipped to treat at least a hundred patients per day. Meanwhile, IMC will leverage its roster of about 300 medical professionals to fill critical gaps in nursing and infection prevention and control."This capacity is designed to address emergency department surge by offloading the urgent care and routine outpatient populations to the shelters," IMC said in an email, adding that the organization is in talks with several hospitals in Cook County.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Friday that she didn't have specific information on AbbVie's plans, saying the city was focused on equipping McCormick Place, and getting two shuttered hospitals, MetroSouth and the former Sherman Hospital up and running. "Those are the things we are focused on, but we need as many additional beds to come online as possible, so if there are other opportunities out there, we'll actively pursue them."
This story first appeared in our sister publication, Crain's Chicago Business.