Chicago adds hotels for first responders amid coronavirus outbreak

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Tuesday that the city is renting nearly 300 hotel rooms for first responders working during the coronavirus outbreak and worried that returning home between shifts puts their family members at risk.

Lightfoot said the city will foot the costs for first responders including Chicago’s police, firefighters or paramedics who want to use the downtown hotel rooms rather than returning to their own homes. She said the city is making arrangements for healthcare workers with the same concerns about spreading the virus to their families and will announce details soon.

City health authorities have reported 2,167 positive cases of COVID-19 and 16 deaths linked to the virus in Chicago. Statewide, Illinois officials said Monday there have been 73 deaths and 5,057 cases. Lightfoot again said Tuesday that the city expects to see the outbreak peak here in the coming weeks.

“There’s no sugarcoating this,” Lightfoot said. “The numbers are going to get worse before they get better.”

Chicago previously reserved more than 2,000 downtown hotel rooms for people who needed a place to isolate or quarantine away from home as they recover from mild cases of COVID-19 that do not require hospital stays.