Capitol - Your Illinois News Radar » McCormick place facility “larger than the largest hospital in Illinois” - New alt site in Springfield - 140 staff at McCormick Place site - “Wearing something to cover your face is a good idea” - Lightfoot says couldn’t have been done without DuPage Medical - Site director can’t say if PPE is adequate - 425 hotel rooms open for healthcare workers - Lightfoot: “We shouldn’t have to beg the federal government” - Pritzker explains modeling and the peak - EO waives liability
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McCormick place facility “larger than the largest hospital in Illinois” - New alt site in Springfield - 140 staff at McCormick Place site - “Wearing something to cover your face is a good idea” - Lightfoot says couldn’t have been done without DuPage Medical - Site director can’t say if PPE is adequate - 425 hotel rooms open for healthcare workers - Lightfoot: “We shouldn’t have to beg the federal government” - Pritzker explains modeling and the peak - EO waives liability

Friday, Apr 3, 2020

* Gov. Pritzker held his press conference today at McCormick Place, the site of a new field hospital

The teams on the ground here have brought everything to the table for Illinois. In less than a week’s time, they’ve assembled 500 rooms and beds, 14 nursing stations, and full support rooms for supply storage, pharmacy needs and housekeeping. In one week’s time the heroes who came together to make this possible built us a facility larger than the largest hospital in Illinois.

One week, and they will be building out to 3000 beds, before the end of the month.

Again, please pardon all typos. Mistakes are most likely in transcription, not in what is being said.

* More capacity…

We’ve also launched work on three other sites in Chicago and the collar counties, the former Advocate Sherman Hospital campus in Elgin, the Metro South Health Center in Blue Island and Westlake Hospital in Cook County’s Melrose Park.

And today, I am proud to share with you our next site, Vibra Hospital in Springfield, Illinois, which will begin to add more beds to our capacity in Central Illinois.

* Staffing…

Preparing also means proactively assembling the healthcare workers who will bring these facilities to life. A hospital bed is just a bed until it has the staff and equipment to turn it into a place to treat COVID 19. We’ve already assembled the medical personnel who will staff these first 500 beds, nearly 140 healthcare heroes from around Illinois and the nation are ready to work here, and we’ll be adding many hundreds more as the need evolves.

* Masks…

There’s a reason that we’re raised to cover your mouth, or use your elbow, when you cough or sneeze. It’s a simple gesture to reduce the number of germs that you spread to those around you. The doctors all agree that this virus can be spread through droplets, like when you sneeze or cough. So blocking that by wearing a mask in public seems like a common sense way to do what’s right for everyone around you.

The most important thing you could do, frankly is stay home. But when you do go outside, or when you must go to the grocery store, pharmacy, wearing something to cover your face is a good idea, based upon what the science says. Maybe it’s a homemade fabric mask, or maybe it’s a manufacturer, general medical mask, really just something to cover your nose and mouth out of courtesy to those around you. In case you’re one of those who are asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic, and who could be spreading the virus, wearing a mask is just one more way that we can help take care of one another in our state.

* Mayor Lightfoot…

I want to also acknowledge Paul Merrick, the CEO of DuPage Medical. Folks, we would have no staffing here without DuPage Medical, and the men and women from an executive team who have stepped up to provide the real services that are going to be necessary.

* More Lightfoot…

Starting Wednesday, we will be making 200 rooms in London House and 225 rooms in the Godfrey Hotel open for healthcare workers

* Major General Robert F. Whittle, US Army Corps of Engineers…

We have eight awarded contracts now across the United States. Three of them are here in Illinois, and this is a testament again to leadership here.

* Press release: “This is snapshot in time data captured at 10am on April 3, 2020. The numbers will change frequently as the state works to increase capacity and new patients need care”…

* On to questions for the governor and the mayor. Where did you get the medical personnel?…

Dr. Nick Turkal, who is the executive director of the new facility: The state has been very helpful at IEMA with helping us to provide test nurses and other providers. DuPage Medical is volunteering and bringing a number of their staff to help with both leadership, and then also to work here as doctors, nurses and other health care providers. We’re in discussions now with additional people who may be able to help us. And that may include local university medical centers. It may include people from out of state at times but our focus will be on staff with local knowledge and expertise, but don’t disrupt the local hospital ecosystem. We want the hospitals to be able to keep all their employees with them doing the work that they need to do there, so that we really become overflow or release of the strain on those hospitals.

* Dr. Turkal was also asked if the PPE supplies are adequate…

That I think is an ongoing concern for our entire nation. There are discussions at the federal level about how that will be distributed in the coming weeks. And I think we have to say ‘more to come’ on that. We will keep up with it, and do the very best that we can.

* Dr. Turkal on staffing levels…

We are planning on 12 hour shifts. And part of the reason for that is to reduce the use of PPE. If we have three shifts a day we have more people coming in and out for nothing more than materials that are so critically important right now. So, we believe 12 hour shifts are the best. And if you look around healthcare today, 12 hour shifts are the norm in many places, not very concerned about burnout. As far as days on and off. We will flex that according to the needs of the staff, and that that is not finalized yet.

* For the governor: How many people should Illinois be testing a day, and how long is it going to take to get to that point? Is the state struggling to test its population at a sufficient level?…

Well I have been saying I think every single day that I’ve had a press conference and maybe days before that, that we are, we do not have enough tests. The federal government said they were going to provide millions of tests, and all the states relied upon that promise and it still hasn’t happened.

So we’ve taken it upon ourselves to grow our testing capability, as you know in our first days we used our state labs in one shift which is all we ever had in our state labs to begin with, with three labs, 200, a day at each lab that was all we could do at the very beginning today. Now we’re doing around 5000 on average per day. And we’re trying to get to 10,000 per day, frankly, I’d like to be at 100,000 per day if we could but right now the testing supplies the swabs everything about the tests are very difficult to come by and there’s no federal plan for this.

So every state is on their own, as I said, it’s the Wild West out here, but my plan and our plan working with our experts and scientists epidemiologist is if we can get to 10,000 per day, that helps us both test the people that will you know come forward with symptoms on any given day, and give us meaningful data, which is a hugely important tip so we know where the outbreaks are taking place. And when we need to, on an emergency basis test for example at a nursing home or in some congregate facility we can test everybody all at once, 200 or 300 people at a time. So it’s extraordinarily important that we build up that testing capability as I talked about yesterday. We’ve bought machines we’ve bought tests we’ve reached out to every company. I’ve been on with CEOs of all the companies that do it Roshan Abbott and so on. And we’re doing everything we can to build up our testing capability, because we’re getting no help from anywhere else.

* What is the responsibility of residential building managers to communicate to their tenants, when there are positive COVID cases in their buildings?…

Chicago Health Director: If someone is living in a multi-unit apartment building for example, and they’re able to return to their home and be isolated at home. There is not a need to notify across that whole building, as long as we believe that the individual is able to be isolated at home just as they would.

* What about what Jared Kushner had to say from the White House, that some states don’t know what they have in their inventory before requesting equipment from the federal government?…

Well, let me start with this. I don’t know if Jared Kushner knows this, but it’s called the United States of America. And the federal government, which has a stockpile, is supposed to be backstopping the states. He apparently does not know that.

Now at the state level, we have stockpiles at the city level we have stockpiles. And, you know, we’re using them now. I don’t think anybody expected a respiratory pandemic. That would deplete, all of the respiratory stockpiles that exists and that we would be, and that the federal government would abdicate its role and have 50 states, five territories. On top of that, all competing with one another and competing against the federal government to get the PPE that’s necessary. So I think Jared Kushner just does not understand this issue. He does not understand what the federal government’s role is supposed to be in a national emergency.

* Mayor Lightfoot…

I think the governor just showed incredible restraint under the circumstances. He’s 100% right. We shouldn’t have to beg the federal government to step up and assume his responsibility here. When we hear from the head of the CDC, that the Federal stockpile, the Federal stockpile only has 10,000 ventilators. The question we should ask is what the heck has the Trump administration been doing over the last three and a half years? What that tells me, what that tells public health professionals across the nation is that the federal government has failed to do the planning that it needs on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis to be prepared.

So we’re not waiting for the feds, we’re doing what is necessary. The governor and his team have been working tirelessly to source, the materials that we need to bring to Illinois. But my own mind, somebody like Jared Kushner casting aspersions on the hard work of governors across this country who have been working tirelessly, night and day to be leaders, and to care for the residents in their states that tells you a lot about the character of him.

* Can you tell us what models you’re looking at?…

Pritzker: We’ll look at any model that is well put together and you know the mayor has developed a model for the city we develop one for the state. We’re looking at the regions of the state, we actually have a team that works together now looking at all their statisticians, mathematicians physicists, scientists, we’re looking at that, to make sure that we’re it evolves as we know more information. So, you know, we looked at the University of Washington model, that’s one model to look at. We had a University of Illinois UIUC model as well. There was one that was developed by a consulting firm here in the city of Chicago as well. So, collectively what we’re looking at is, and remember what we’re trying to determine with these models. We’re trying to determine is, what is the height of this look like what is the peak look like, and therefore what resources are necessary for us to have on hand, and to treat the people who are going to be hospitalized. Those who will need ICU beds, those who will need ventilators. And so collectively I think the mayor and I both have said in different ways, in different press conferences over the last couple of days that we believe based upon the various models that we’ve looked at, and the collective one that’s still being worked on that somewhere between the middle of April, and the end of April, might be the peak.

Now I want everybody to understand that just because you say you’re going to hit a peak does not mean that you’re then precipitously going to fall on the other side of that peak to zero. That does not happen. What we need to know about the peak and the reason we’re all looking at it is because of the resources necessary at the height, because that’s what you need to have on hand. That’s how many ventilators you need. And so once we get to that peak, we’re all going to be praying that we come off that peak quickly, but we might not, we might be flattened at that peak.

That is flattening the curve. And then we want it to fall of course but I just, I think people may misunderstand what the use of a model, it isn’t going to tell us exactly everything that’s going to happen every day. It does help us to know how well we’re doing against what our projections were so that as we move forward we can move resources around. You heard Governor Cuomo in New York talk about the when they come off of their peak they may be able to send ventilators to other parts of the country. I hope that’s true. And certainly, if we can do that if we come off of our peak, and we can help some other hotspot across the country we’re going to try to do that too. We want to be helpful to everybody across the country as best we can, but our first and foremost duty is to protect the people of the city of Chicago in the state of Illinois, and we’re going to do that.

* What about legal liability?…

Dr. Nick: I might ask the governor to address that we’re very pleased about the executive order. I’ll say most healthcare professionals come with liability insurance, but in a crisis like this, we’re very appreciative of the state’s efforts to say, we’re going to take care of liability.

Subscribers know more about this week’s executive order.

* Is it possible that we might see not a lot of patients here and it’s just preparing for the worst. Is that part of discussions?…

From your lips to God’s ears. That is honestly what we are praying for. If no patient ends up at McCormick Place, then we will have done our job people, will have stayed at home, they will have done what they needed to do to bend this curve and for people not to get sick. So I pray that that’s an accurate assessment.


- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Langhorne - Friday, Apr 3, 20 @ 2:58 pm:

    Vibra, in Spfld, was a 50 bed acute care hospital, located near our two major hospitals. Closed about 3yr ago. Good move to bring it back online.

  2. - Practical Politics - Friday, Apr 3, 20 @ 2:59 pm:

    Pritzker acknowledged FEMA.


  3. - revvedup - Friday, Apr 3, 20 @ 3:07 pm:

    Youtube has a number of videos on how to make emergency masks, including some that require no sewing to assemble. Also, a mask is a good idea for people who may have spring allergies, colds, or the flu in case they cough or sneeze, to reduce fear or even panic among others in public spaces.

  4. - 588-2300 - Friday, Apr 3, 20 @ 3:34 pm:

    IHME Estimates for Illinois on April 3rd (last updated April 1st):

    All Beds Estimate: 4627 (3446-7080) - Actual: 2984
    ICU beds Estimate: 903 (634-1487) - Actual: 935
    Ventilators Estimate: 722 (510-1186) - Actual: 666

  5. - West Sider - Friday, Apr 3, 20 @ 3:46 pm:

    Maybe one of the things that come out of this will be a new appreciation for real leadership- from many sources. Restaurant Grade.

  6. - Amalia - Friday, Apr 3, 20 @ 3:53 pm:

    today I braved watching on tv. should be live on cable channels like they do with Gov. Cuomo.

  7. - Leatherneck - Friday, Apr 3, 20 @ 4:08 pm:

    If needed, can the Hope Pavilion in Springfield be converted to a temporary alternate hospital? It is at the site of the former Doctors’ Hospital, which closed in 2003.,-89.6427817,3a,39.9y,113.93h,88.69t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sqiax8cXZrtZcdBP_KkzlEw!2e0!7i16384!8i8192

  8. - Henry Haupt - Friday, Apr 3, 20 @ 4:10 pm:

    Thank you for covering these important press conferences so well. Your succinct headlines outlining the key developments of each day are greatly appreciated.
    Good work and thanks!

  9. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Apr 3, 20 @ 4:21 pm:


    Thank you for these posts.

    They provide such a service to the honest transferring of first hand information.

    It’s been invaluable

  10. - Bruce (no not him) - Friday, Apr 3, 20 @ 4:43 pm:

    “He does not understand what the federal government’s role is supposed to be in a national emergency.”
    i’m pretty sure he isn’t the only one. I wish this was /S

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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