McCormick Place field hospital to be unveiled Friday

As COVID-19 cases rise in Illinois, the state is preparing for a flood of patients.

The National Guard has been working for five days to set up a field hospital at McCormick Place, and on Friday, it will be unveiled to the public.

Five-hundred beds in just five days. The creation of makeshift hospitals in Illinois is a precaution, in case the number of COVID-19 cases skyrocket and hospitals run out of room.

“You should all feel very, very proud of the work that's been done, so quickly by patriotic Americans,” Governor JB Pritzker said.

McCormick Place will house 3,000 beds by the end of the month, but phase one is finished, giving Chicago 500 extra beds.

It was team effort by FEMA, the Army Corps of Engineers, the National Guard, and city and state workers.

“You can see that on their faces, how proud they are to be doing it. They know they're doing something that's going to save people's lives,” Pritzker said.

“Weather Mark Tavern” is still open for carry out and delivery during the stay-at-home order, but on Thursday, they got their biggest order yet: 60 members of the National Guard.

“We provided them a wonderful Mexican platter of tacos, beef and chicken and steak,” said Mark Stern.

Stern says his South Loop neighborhood heard the soldiers were in town and wanted to help. They raised more than $1,000 in less than two days to pay for the feast.

“A couple of my people that were with me came up to me and said I got a tear in my eye over it and they should. It was really, you know, it's an effort by everyone,” Stern said.

As far as staffing McCormick Place goes, the governor is asking for medical professionals no longer in the field to come back to work.

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