Chicago uses hotels for quarantine to ease hospital demand

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A woman walks across the usually busy Columbus Drive that splits Chicago’s Grant Park in half, on the first work day since Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker gave a shelter in place order last week. Pritzker says Illinois is not receiving enough medical supplies in its fight against the coronavirus. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

CHICAGO – Chicago’s plan to reserve at least 1,000 hotel rooms for coronavirus patients through partnerships with five hotels is the first such strategy unveiled in the U.S. But it’s unlikely to be the last.

Government officials nationwide are searching for ways to relieve pressure on hospitals that are concerned about reserving space and equipment for people with severe symptoms of COVID-19.

In Chicago, hotel workers won’t interact with patients but they will get training on cleaning linens and handling food or trash. City officials say the rooms are intended for people with mild symptoms who could spread the virus by returning home.

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