City strikes deal with MetroSouth hospital owner to reopen shuttered facility

The 314-bed hospital in Blue Island is part of Chicago’s effort to house thousands of people who have tested positive for or have been exposed to Covid-19

Mar.March 25, 2020 02:45 PM
Mayor Lori Lightfoot and the former MetroSouth Medical Center in Blue Island (Credit:  KAMIL KRZACZYNSKI/AFP via Getty Images, MetroSouth) 

Mayor Lori Lightfoot and the former MetroSouth Medical Center in Blue Island (Credit:  KAMIL KRZACZYNSKI/AFP via Getty Images, MetroSouth)

A recently-shuttered 314-bed hospital in the southwest suburbs is set to reopen to care for the growing number of Covid-19 patients and those who have been exposed to the virus.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said the city had struck a deal with owner Quorum Health to reopen MetroSouth Medical Center in Blue Island, Crain’s reported. The hospital, which closed at the end of September, could be ready to start filling 200 beds by the end of the week, according to the Daily Southtown.

The move is part of a broader effort by the city to repurpose struggling properties, including empty hotel rooms, for isolation and quarantine spaces as the virus crisis continues.

The state recently increased its capacity of beds and ventilators in anticipation of a potential surge of patients during the outbreak.

The hospital owner, Quorum Health, had been seeking a buyer since July. Late last year, local consulting firm Third Horizon Strategies was trying to acquire the 12-acre property at 12935 S. Gregory Street. The hospital was shuttered because a sharp drop in patient volume.

As of Tuesday, 63 percent of Illinois hospitals’ intensive care unit beds were filled, as were 59 percent of medical/surgical beds and 32 percent of ventilators, according to state Department of Public Health data, cited by Crain’s.

The state said it was also looking into reopening other hospitals, including the 230-bed Westlake Hospital in Melrose Park, in response to the pandemic. As of March 24, there were 730 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Chicago and 1,535 statewide, according to the Chicago Department of Health. [Crain’s/Daily Southtown] — Brianna Kelly

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