Chicago will start renting more than 1,000 of its empty hotel rooms to house coronavirus patients or those awaiting test results

Chicago will rent more than 1,000 empty hotel rooms as housing for those affected by the coronavirus, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced in a press conference[1] on March 23.

The rooms are intended to free up space in hospitals for patients in need of critical care.

“Beginning today, individuals who either have a COVID-19 diagnosis or who are awaiting test results, but who cannot safely return home and do not need hospital care can be transferred to downtown hotels rented by the City of Chicago,” the Mayor’s Press Office wrote in a release[2]. “This will ensure these individuals do not put unnecessary strain on local hospitals and healthcare workers and will free up beds needed for more seriously ill patients.”

The first hotel joining the housing program, as detailed by the press release, is Hotel One Sixty Six[3], a boutique hotel on Chicago’s famed Magnificent Mile.

Occupants of the hotel rooms will be referred by the Chicago Department of Public Health, Ryan Ori and Lori Rackl reported[4] for the Chicago Tribune. The city will cover the cost of the hotel rooms as well as three meals a day and plans to seek reimbursement from the federal government, among other sources, they said.

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