Toni Preckwinkle on County’s COVID-19 Response, Budget Impact


On April 6, Cook County temporarily closed the emergency room at Provident Hospital on Chicago’s South Side after a staff member tested positive for COVID-19. The ER reopened two weeks later, on April 20. 

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle says the hospital needed time to ensure people were properly quarantined, as well as making sure the facility could handle an expected influx of COVID-19 patients. 

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“We looked at that space to figure out we could reconfigure it, so that it was less likely that people would catch the disease from each other,” Preckwinkle said. 

Interactive: More from our series, COVID-19 Across Chicago.

Preckwinkle says most of the COVID-19 patients the county is treating are being seen at the larger Stroger Hospital in Chicago’s Medical District. She says the current number of patients at the hospital is around 240, about half of which are related to the coronavirus. 

Like many other local governments, COVID-19 is also hurting Cook County’s bottom line. Preckwinkle said Wednesday the county could be facing a projected budget shortfall around $260 million. 

“It’s unclear how long the shelter-in-place order will remain, and that will surely impact our budget,” Preckwinkle said. “We’re looking for help from the federal government … we hope that the next stimulus package, I think this will be number five, includes lost revenue for local units of government.” 


Covid Across Chicago

How is the novel coronavirus impacting local businesses, residents and social service agencies across the city and region? And how are local leaders handling the crisis? We hit the streets to answer those questions and more in our ongoing reporting series, COVID-19 Across Chicago. See where we’ve been and what we’ve discovered in this overview.


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