United Center to become COVID-19 logistics hub; more hotels agree to rent rooms for patients

Coronavirus

CHICAGO — The United Center is about to become a logistical hub for Chicago’s fight against COVID-19, and more local hotels have agreed to rent rooms to isolate patients.

With the NBA and NHL seasons suspended indefinitely, the United Center has been sitting unused –so it is an ideal place to serve as a logistics hub in this time of crisis.

In a statement, the UC expressed pride in serving a critical role in the local response to COVID-19.

The home of the Blackhawks and Bulls will be used for food distribution, staging and coordination for valuable shipments of medical supplies.

The Illinois National Guard will likely be involved in the effort after activating more than 100 specialists.

The guard has been helping with drive-thru testing and also working with the city and state to help in the distribution of personal protective equipment for healthcare workers.

Meantime, about 1,000 hotel rooms are now available for first responders who’ve been infected and need isolation.

The city has contracts with five hotels, including Hotel One Sixty-Six in Streeterville.

Eventually, more than 2,000 rooms will be available. They will also handle less serious coronavirus cases to ease the burden on area hospitals.

In addition, the state and city are looking into other facilities for possible use. McCormick Place has been discussed as a potential temporary shelter for the homeless.

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