Thousands of patient beds ready at Chicago convention center

Government officials discuss COVID-19 impact on communities of color

ILLINOIS (WFIE) - During Gov. Pritzker’s Friday coronavirus update, he and his team announced 68 additional COVID-19 related deaths and 1,465 new cases.

The state is now reporting 17,887 confirmed positive cases and a total of 596 deaths.

Officials say Chicago’s lakefront convention center will be prepared to accept its first coronavirus patients next week if demand on the city’s hospitals builds.

Officials with the city and the Army Corps of Engineers said Friday that frenzied work is continuing to complete plans for a total of 3,000 patient beds.

So far, workers have been able to complete spaces for 2,250 patients.

State and city officials have said they hope the convention center will not be needed. It’s designed to accept people with the coronavirus who don’t need the highest level of care that hospitals will focus on.

Meanwhile, Gov. Pritzker and his health officials stated that the mortality rates for African-Americans are five times higher than other racial populations, and that percentage increases dramatically among the elderly population.

“We will not stand ideally by while one segment of the population bears an unfortunate heightened burden of this disease," Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said.

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