Empowering Communities

Powering COVID-19 critical care facilities

April 15, 2020

It was just last month that McCormick Place hosted the Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo. Now, the convention center in downtown Chicago is serving a more serious purpose.

The facility has been transformed into an alternate care facility for COVID-19 patients.

A variety of teams, including ComEd, worked around the clock to help repurpose the space.

Across three different units, the facility will have capacity for up to 3,000 patients who have less serious illnesses that do not require ventilators. The temporary hospital is being made operational in a series of phases.

“We’re committed to maintaining high reliability for all of our customers, but sites of critical public significance demand an even higher level of care,” said Shay Bahramirad, ComEd vice president of engineering and smart grid.

To ensure reliable power to the alternate care facility, ComEd performed proactive inspections of equipment that provides power to McCormick Place.  

“Our team collaborated closely with McCormick Place engineers to ensure processes were understood and contingency plans are ready to be activated should there be a need,” Bahramirad said.

ComEd also has been inspecting circuits and equipment at more traditional care facilities, including hospitals, testing facilities and medical manufacturing sites, in the communities it serves.

The company has also established a multi-department COVID-19 Response Inspections Working Group. The group collaborates with municipalities, local chambers of commerce, non-profit agencies, faith-based organizations, and commercial and industrial customers to ensure that they have the level of service they need.

“Providing reliable power is always important, but as we watch our neighbors face COVID-19 challenges, we’re reminded of how significant it is,” Bahramirad said. “We’re proud to maintain high levels of reliability so we can help our customers have one less thing to worry about during this critical time.”


McCormick Place has not started accepting patients at the time of posting.