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City of Chicago to Reserve Hotel Rooms for Coronavirus Patients

Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot responds to a question after Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced a shelter in place order to combat the spread of the Covid-19 virus, during a news conference, March 20, 2020, in Chicago.

In a move designed to help both the city’s struggling hospitality industry and over-worked hospitals, the mayor of Chicago this week announced a plan to reserve thousands of hotel rooms for people with mild cases of the coronavirus.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced the plan Monday saying the city has partnered with five hotels and expected 1,000 rooms available by Tuesday.

Chicago officials said the plan is a proactive measure designed to keep hospital beds available for people with severe symptoms.

Chicago public health officials said hotel workers won't interact with people quarantined or isolated in their rooms, but will prepare food and be trained to perform other tasks. They said public health employees will supervise each site.

Lightfoot said city officials were still determining how much it would cost but that they anticipate $1 million would be needed for a 30-day supply of rooms.

In most cases, the coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. But in others, especially in older adults and people with existing health problems, it can more severe symptoms and can lead to death.