Rosemont convention center considered a 'last resort' field hospital

  • The Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont is a possible location for a field hospital of up to 3,000 beds, but is only being considered as a "last resort," village officials say.

    The Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont is a possible location for a field hospital of up to 3,000 beds, but is only being considered as a "last resort," village officials say. Courtesy of the Illinois Office of Tourism

 
 
Updated 4/9/2020 8:51 PM

The Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont has been considered as a possible field hospital that could deal with an overflow of patients, but only as a "last resort," village officials said.

The Army Corps of Engineers recently toured the 840,000-square-foot village-owned exhibition center, where officials discussed plans for as many as 3,000 beds, should area hospitals become overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients.

 

Christopher Stephens, the convention center's executive director, said the Army Corps and other officials on the tour "liked the space" and considered using the entire building. But since the sprawling field hospital being built at McCormick Place in Chicago has yet to take any patients, constructing and putting a similar makeshift hospital in Rosemont "would be somewhat of a last resort," Stephens said.

"I'm hopeful and optimistic they won't need those, for everybody's sake," he said.

Across town, the Army Corps also evaluated the two-story, 18,500-seat Allstate Arena. But the village-owned stadium was rejected as a field hospital site, according to Mayor Brad Stephens, who is the uncle of the convention center director.

"They didn't feel the arena was good enough for them to have the masses, if it gets to that point," the mayor said.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot last week unveiled the first 500 beds of a planned 3,000-bed "alternative care facility" at McCormick Place. The remainder of the beds should be ready by the end of the month.

The state also is setting up another 730 beds at shuttered hospitals sites, including on the former Sherman Hospital campus in Elgin, Westlake Hospital in Melrose Park and MetroSouth Hospital in Blue Island.

Stephens, the convention center director, said he's been in touch with hospitals around Rosemont who've reported their capacity so far to be "in pretty good shape."

Pritzker's office on Tuesday released data showing that 35% of about 2,700 intensive care unit beds in the state are available. In the Northwest suburbs, a little more than half of beds are available, compared to 28% in the West suburbs, 17% in the Northeast suburbs and almost a quarter available in Chicago.

0 Comments
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 
Article Comments
Attention: We are experiencing technical difficulties with our Facebook Comments module at this time. Comments will remain disabled until we are able to resolve the problem. We apologize for the interruption. We invite you to engage with our content and talk with other commenters on our Daily Herald Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/DailyHeraldFans/. Thank you.