How the deal to turn McCormick Place into a $66M field hospital happened

  • Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot views one of the patient rooms at the COVID-19 field hospital at McCormick Place in April.

    Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot views one of the patient rooms at the COVID-19 field hospital at McCormick Place in April. Tyler LaRiviere/Chicago Sun-Times

  • U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth and Gov. J.B. Pritzker tour the ventilation system at the COVID-19 field hospital at Chicago's McCormick Place in April.

    U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth and Gov. J.B. Pritzker tour the ventilation system at the COVID-19 field hospital at Chicago's McCormick Place in April. Tyler LaRiviere/Chicago Sun-Times

 
 
Updated 8/14/2020 7:43 PM

Taxpayers spent nearly $66 million fashioning McCormick Place into an emergency coronavirus hospital with 2,750 beds this past spring amid fears that COVID-19 patients would overwhelm hospitals in the Chicago area.

Those fears turned out to be unfounded. Just 38 patients were transferred to the sprawling convention center -- meaning taxpayers' cost for the makeshift hospital turned out to be more than $1.7 million per patient.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

But top aides to Mayor Lori Lightfoot say her decision to initiate the project with the federal government and the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority was an important "insurance policy" at a time of "immense emergency."

For the full story, visit chicago.suntimes.com.

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