McCormick Place transformed into hospital to help with COVID-19 treatment

The Illinois National Guard is working to re-open two hospitals to help house patients during a surge of COVID-19 cases.

Advocate Sherman Hospital in Elgin is one of them. The other, Metro South Health Center in Blue Island.

They are part of an overall plan to help house an influx of patients that also includes a field hospital at McCormick Place.

Soldiers moved into McCormick Place -- the Army Corps of Engineers working with FEMA and 30 newly activated National Guard troops -- to transform the massive convention center into a huge hospital of sorts.

“The work the Army Corps of Engineers and National Guard have already done, what they're capable of doing is truly phenomenal,” said Gov. Pritzker. 

Gov. Pritzker says already inside they're assembling 500 beds with a goal of having 3,000 by the end of April. This is being done to prepare for the expected surge in coronavirus cases that could overwhelm Chicago hospitals.

This alternate care facility would be used to treat COVID-19 patients with mild symptoms.

“People whose condition could benefit from the care of medical professionals, but who are not likely to need a formal ICU,” said Gov. Pritzker.

The state is now asking any licensed medical professional from doctors to dentists, paramedics to podiatrists, to register at, so they could be called up to work there.

Early plans show groups of up to 13 health care workers, including physicians, nurses, pharmacists, mental health providers, working 12-hour shifts at McCormick.

The governor says we'll all be happy if the additional beds are never needed, but Chicago needs to prepare for the worst.