Schaumburg hotel to house health care workers, first responders

  • Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle and Bill Barnes, far left, executive director of the Cook County Department of Emergency Management and Regional Security, announce a respite housing program for health care workers and first responders. The housing being offered includes 460 rooms at a Schaumburg hotel.

    Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle and Bill Barnes, far left, executive director of the Cook County Department of Emergency Management and Regional Security, announce a respite housing program for health care workers and first responders. The housing being offered includes 460 rooms at a Schaumburg hotel. Courtesy of Cook County President's Office

 
 
Updated 4/22/2020 2:20 PM

A Schaumburg hotel will provide the first 460 rooms for a new Cook County respite program providing housing for symptom-free health care workers, first responders and correctional employees who have had contact with COVID-19 carriers and need to live apart from their families.

Schaumburg Mayor Tom Dailly said the hotel providing the rooms for renewable weeklong increments has asked not to be publicly identified.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

But to the best of his knowledge, Dailly added, it is not the Chicago Marriott Schaumburg on Martingale Road that previously was asked about its availability for such a purpose.

Another Schaumburg hotel, which officials have not identified for security reasons, is providing 275 rooms of alternative housing for at-risk members of the homeless population. Residents of the Hesed House homeless shelter in Aurora are staying at that hotel, but Dailly said their precautionary quarantine period may be ending next week.

The announcement of the new respite housing program was made at a news conference led by Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle on Wednesday.

Joining her was Bill Barnes, executive director of the Cook County Department of Emergency Management and Regional Security. Barnes mentioned that in addition to the 460 hotel rooms in Schaumburg, another 60 to 100 would soon be available in Oak Lawn.

Including the hotel providing alternative housing for the homeless, the county currently has a total of three hotels under contract, he added.

But the county has identified a potential of 8,000 hotel rooms that could be put under contract if the need arose, Barnes said. One hotel in the north and another in the south could be available on relatively short notice, he said.

Though this is a Cook County program, the cost is being borne by the state under its emergency powers and could potentially be reimbursed by the federal government later.

Preckwinkle said eligibility for the housing will be based on job categories of potentially at-risk workers and not their financial means to self-isolate.

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