April 16, 2020
Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, joined the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA), Cook County Department of Public Health (CCDPH) and Cook County Department of Emergency Management and Regional Security (EMRS) yesterday to announce a multi-phased, COVID-19 alternative housing plan designed to support suburban Cook County residents, health care professionals and first responders.
Under this plan, in partnership with IEMA, suburban Cook County residents who test positive for COVID-19, are recovering well, but remain in need of temporary housing as they continue to improve outside a hospital’s care, will have an opportunity to stay in temporary housing identified by EMRS. Qualifying participants of the program may include homeless, housing insecure or those who do not have a separate room and bathroom to safely isolate at home.
County officials soft-launched the alternative housing plan several weeks ago and roughly 400 hotel beds have since been made available for suburban Cook County residents under this program. Cook County will seek to identify additional housing as needed.
If a person tests positive for COVID-19, has received treatment and is set to be discharged from the hospital to continue recuperating, the patient can tell a hospital social worker they may not be able to adequately self-isolate. The hospital will call a Cook County Department of Public Health hotline who will screen the patient, confirm their need for housing, and then immediately work to place them in the temporary housing.
Plans are in place to expand the program to serve suburban healthcare professionals and first responders also in need of temporary housing.