ELGIN, IL — A shuttered medical facility on the campus of a torn-down hospital, which once served as the backdrop for a 2011 hit movie based on a pandemic, will reopen. Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Monday that the former Sherman Hospital campus at Slade Avenue and Center Street is among several facilities that have been pegged by state officials to be used to care for overflow patients from suburban hospitals that could become overloaded with new coronavirus patients.
The medical building will be used to treat non-acute patients, according to a news release from the city of Elgin.
Scenes from "Contagion," a medical thriller released in 2011 that eerily echoes today's reality, were shot at the former Elgin hospital. The film starred Gwyneth Paltrow, Matt Damon, Kate Winslet, Laurence Fishburne and Jude Law, depicting a pandemic that swept the world as government officials rushed to find a cure.
"The address for the medical office building on the Old Sherman Campus is 901 Center Street, adjacent to where the former hospital building was located," Molly Gillespie, communications manager for the city of Elgin, told Patch in an e-mail response. "The former hospital building that no longer exists is where Contagion was filmed."
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Work has begun to convert the former medical office and is expected to take two weeks, according to information posted on the city of Elgin's Facebook page. City officials say they are not sure if COVID-19 patients will be treated at the Elgin facility, since the Illinois Department of Public Health has not yet made that determination.
The actual hospital building was torn down in recent years, Gillespie said.
On Monday, Pritzker also announced plans by the state to work with U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to temporarily convert part of the McCormick Place Convention Center in Chicago into an Alternate Care Facility for COVID-19 patients with mild symptoms who don't require intensive care.
Bed capacity for treating COVID-19 will also be added at MetroSouth Hospital in Blue Island, according to a news release.
"The federal government — in close coordination with our state and city partners — is taking aggressive and proactive steps to respond to this unprecedented pandemic," said FEMA Region V Administrator James K. Joseph. "This joint effort is meant to keep us ahead of a potential surge in coronavirus cases that could stress the city's health care system, ensuring residents are getting the medical treatment they need, when they need it."
Pritzker, in his announcement Monday, said the plan is to first treat COVID-19 cases at hospitals that are currently open, sending patients to currently underutilized hospitals before using the new hospitals. The virus, which has sickened more than 5,000 people and killed 74 in the state, is expected to peak in mid-April, state officials said in recent days.