MELROSE PARK, Ill. — The shuttered Westlake Hospital will be converted into a treatment center for COVID-19 patients.
Construction crews started to arrive Monday morning to begin to transform the hospital into an alternate care facility.
The hospital closed last year because of a legal battle, but it will reopen again in the next few weeks.
“The hospital hasn’t been operational for a period of time and so we have to get through and check those things to make sure we’re providing a very safe environment,” said Lt. Col Aaron Reisinger, Army Corps of Engineers.
The state received funding from FEMA to maximize the capacity for patients who get sick with the virus.
The Army Corps of Engineers did a preliminary walk through of the facility on Sunday. They said the goal is to open an additional 300 to 350 beds here in about three-weeks time.
Westlake is beneficial because the building is already equipped with gas lines for oxygen and negative pressure rooms.
“One of the benefits, especially as a facility like this is it’s the, the, the guts of the building are really built to be able to do what we want to do here. So there are many rooms that are already piped for med gas, for example, to be able to bring in inline oxygen which is really important for our moderate to high acute patients,” said Lt. Col Aaron Reisinger.
This hospital will not be open for other medical treatment, it will solely be open for overflow capacity.
The Army Corps of Engineers has also been preparing McCormick Place for an additional 3,000 beds. However, those beds will be for people with acute symtoms. Westlake will provide more intensive treatment.