CHICAGO (CBS) — The Army Corps of Engineers has been awarded a $15 million contract to build out a field hospital at McCormick Place convention center to create more beds in the event COVID-19 continues to spread, a federal government sources tells CBS 2.
The official announcement is being postponed until Monday at the city’s request while details of the actual construction and timeline get hammered out this weekend, the source said. There is an Army Corps emergency operations camper already parked at McCormick Place to be used as a command center for the construction.
Earlier this week, the CBS 2 Investigators uncovered a plan to use the massive convention space and three shuttered hospitals to increase bed capacity.
With the future need for more ICU beds and isolation rooms growing by the day in Illinois and around the country, officials have to get creative. McCormick Place could house 3,000 patients and those shuttered hospitals another 1,000. It remains unclear whether these beds would be used to treat COVID-19 patients, or be used for other patients to free up space at existing hospitals.
The state is also signing up retired health care workers to increase manpower. Gov. JB Pritzker said red tape would be cut to make it easy for the health care workers who had retired or left the field for other reasons to be reinstated in the industry.