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Westlake Hospital In Melrose Park To Reopen For COVID-19 Patients

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Another area hospital will find a new purpose as a center to treat COVID-19 patients.

With cases of the coronavirus soaring, Chicago area hospitals are doing all they can to hang on. But support sites are about to make  a huge difference.

They're not hospitals, but some patients can be treated at them. And now a new site is in the works.

Westlake Hospital in Melrose Park joins Metro South Medical Center in Blue Island, Sherman Hospital in Elgin, and McCormick Place.

CBS 2's Mugo Odigwe has the story.

Westlake Hospital is now being prepped to become an alternate treatment site for COVID-19 patients. It will be equipped with 230 beds.

On Friday, Illinois Representative Chris Welch (D-7th) along with the Coalition For Spiritual And Public Leadership had a Zoom meeting with Governor JB Pritzker to thank him for decision to reopen the hospital.

"He told me all along that he was working to try to make this happen. We believed in him and he got it done," Welch said.

Welch said many people in his district live near Westlake Hospital. That's why he encouraged the governor to reopen it.

Westlake Hosptial becomes the fourth alternate care center for coronavirus patients in Illinois.

McCormick Place is being transformed from the city's largest convention center to a COVID-19 care center, equipped with 3,000 to help overwhelmed hospitals.

The recent addition of Westlake Hospital to the mix means Illinois will have more beds to handle an expected surge of cases. Something Welch said is vital.

Governor Prtizker said construction at all the sites will be completed on a rolling basis through the end of April.

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