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Hospitals Setting Up Tents To Help With COVID-19 Cases, But Weekend Storms Bring New Threat

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Medical workers have enough on their hands battling COVID-19, but with severe weather possible Saturday night, and strong winds expected on Sunday, it's making an uphill battle even more difficult.

Tents are becoming a new fixture outside hospital emergency rooms. It's the new reality in the time of the coronavirus pandemic.

A forward triage tent has been set up outside Swedish Hospital on the Northwest Side.

Tents also have been set up in the middle of the Loyola University Medical Center campus in Maywood, and outside West Suburban Hospital in Oak Park, where one victim has already succumbed to an illness that has claimed the lives of more than 2,000 people in America.

The tents are the latest line of defense for hospitals trying to slow the spread of a deadly illness that is already sickening people in more than 150 countries.

But now it's the tents that are under threat, as a large storm system barrels in from the west. It may be packing winds upwards of 50 miles an hour.

That's why one official at a large hospital chain said she's advised her members to take down the tents where possible.

Many have been emptied of valuable equipment, while others have been reinforced with large blocks of concrete and steel girders.

Rush University Medical Center won't have to worry about any gusts of wind, because its forward triage tents are in the large hospital's ambulance bay.

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