CHICAGO — Mayor Lori Lightfoot has a plan to team up with some struggling hotels to care for patients during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Local hospitals have not run out of beds yet, but it could happen soon. So the city tapped the struggling hospitality industry, including Hotel One Sixty-Six — which is just steps away from Northwestern Hospital.
The city is renting rooms in five hotels, making 1,000 beds available Tuesday and more than 2,000 by the end of this week.
Hotel One Sixty-Six was the first to offer its 215 rooms, and many other hotels are contacting the city to offer rooms if even more are needed.
The hotels will serve those in quarantine and isolation, allowing hospitals to focus on the most critical cases.
Rooms can also be a housing option for infected healthcare workers who don’t want to expose their families.
While the arrangements will help to save many jobs in the hospitality industry, all patient care will be handled by medical professionals.
In addition to hotels, YMCA locations are also being repurposed to help ease the burden on hospitals.
The city could end up paying millions for so many room rentals, Mayor Lightfoot said Chicago will seek federal reimbursement later.
Should things become even more dire, school buildings could become another emergency option.
District 46 Elgin is indicating its high schools could be used for emergency purposes in the coming weeks.