Chicago reserves nearly 300 downtown hotel rooms for first responders

Coronavirus

CHICAGO — Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced additional measures Tuesday to support first responders during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Firefighters and police officers are among the most important essential workers, but there is great concern about the health risks.

With resources getting more stretched, the city is replenishing the ranks as quickly as possible

Lightfoot joined Chicago Fire Department Commissioner Richard Ford Tuesday morning to swear in 34 paramedics, some of whom will be on the front line of the coronavirus response as soon as Wednesday.

Training for the EMT class was expedited due to the health crisis, and expectation that COVID-19 cases will soar in the next few weeks.

Soon after the ceremony, Lightfoot announced a new suppose measure for first responders. The city is arranging 274 rooms at Hotel Essex for first responders who are concerned about exposing their families.

As of Tuesday, the fire department has 16 confirmed cases and the police department has 50. CPD has also been swamped with sick calls.

The hotel rooms for the first responders is intended to provide a respite from the stress.

Lightfoot stressed the department responses continue to evolve in order to address all concerns.

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