CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago’s homeless population with the coronavirus will get some space where they can be in isolation and practice social distancing during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot said the city will partner with five hotels to house quarantine and isolated individuals diagnosed with COVID-19. Space will be set up for 1,000 people by Tuesday and 2,000 by the end of the week.
“Thereby relieving the burden on our hospitals and focus their beds and people who need acute care,” Lightfoot said.
She added that while all hotel employees will be properly trained, those workers “will not interact with quarantined guests. That will be the responsibility of public health employees.”
Lightfoot added that the city will partner with Metro South Medical Center in Blue Island for its facility that’s providing another 200 rooms that will be ready by Thursday.
“I applaud the commitment and dedication of our city’s partner organizations as we work together to meet this moment brought by COVID-19 crisis,” Lightfoot said. “By working in tandem with healthcare experts and local organizations to increase capacity for those affected, we have been able to develop innovative solutions to ensure every resident – regardless of status or where they live – are able to obtain the care and refuge needed to prevent the spread of this disease and keep every Chicagoan safe and secure.”
In a swipe at President Trump and the administration’s response to the coronavirus crisis, Lightfoot said the city’s plan can be used by any municipality affected by COVID-19.
“In the absence of federal leadership, we’ve created a model and plan that can be followed by other cities and towns across the nation. A model plan that are grappling with COVID-19 crisis.”
Along with the healthcare facility and hotels, Lightfoot said that at least three YMCA facilities will be available to support the homeless population who need space that isn’t readily available at city shelters.
5 Chicago hotels will have rooms used for those who CAN’T go home and are:
– waiting for test results
– healthy individuals but high-risk individuals (like the elderly)
— Marissa Parra (@MarParNews) March 23, 2020
“Because of social distancing, Chicago shelters are facing new challenges related to space, Lightfoot said. “Not only do we have a plan, we are executing that plan.”