CLOSE Chicago’s plan to reserve at least 1,000 hotel rooms through partnerships with five hotels is the first sweeping strategy unveiled in the US, aimed at relieving pressure on hospitals as they deal with an influx of COVID-19 patients. (March 24) AP DomesticWASHINGTON —In the small city of Cortez, Colorado, locals have so far reported one case of coronavirvus. But Mayor Karen Sheek isn’t waiting for the problem to get worse. She’s been on the phone for days, trying to work out a deal to house first responders at hotel rooms across the region left empty because of the global pandemic. “I’m knocking on wood, but I have no reason to believe based on what I’m seeing in other parts of the country that we’re going to get through this unscathed,’’ Sheek said. “The better prepared we are, hopefully the less impact it will have.’’ As the coronavirus continues to spread across the country, officials in counties – large and small, rural and urban – are turning to hotels, sports arenas and public spaces to house first responders, patients and homeless people.County officials said they’re looking at what their counterparts are doing, particularly those hard hit by the outbreak, to slow the spread and brace for the

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