Durbin, Duckworth Discuss DOD Coronavirus Response With Defense Secretary Esper

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL), Vice Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Defense Subcommittee, and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), a combat Veteran and member of the U.S. Senate Armed Services committee, today spoke with Defense Secretary Mark Esper about the military’s COVID-19 response efforts.  During today’s call, Durbin and Duckworth pressed Secretary Esper for military personnel to help staff the field hospital at McCormick Place in Chicago.  Five hundred beds are available at the McCormick Place field hospital built by the Army Corps of Engineers, with the remaining 2,500 scheduled to ready by the end of the month.  Four hundred twenty-five Army medical personnel were promised to help staff McCormick place, but have yet to be sent to Chicago.

“Americans need the Department of Defense involved in our effort to address this pandemic head-on.  During today’s call, Senator Duckworth and I asked Secretary Esper for military personnel to help staff the field hospital in McCormick Place that opened last week.  It is essential that we have military personnel help staff this field hospital to make it fully operational,” Durbin said.  “I am thankful for the support the Defense Department has provided to Illinois so far and hope we can get this field hospital up and running in short order.”

“Senator Durbin and I had a productive conversation with Secretary Esper this morning regarding our request for military personnel to be quickly deployed to the field hospital in McCormick Place to help that facility prepare for the expected wave of cases in Chicago,” Duckworth said. “I’ll keep working with Senator Durbin to secure these and other critical resources that our state needs to deal with this public health crisis.”