More than 2,000 health workers have already been sent to ailing hospitals in Illinois this month, but hundreds more are expected to be deployed in the coming weeks, Governor JB Pritzker said on Wednesday.
The governor, in a COVID-19 update, announced that an additional 552 workers are expected to arrive at public hospitals by next Friday. In addition, the state is sending another 340 workers from so-called “COVID response teams” to “respond quickly to emerging crises in hospitals and other health facilities” within the next 10 days.
“I can’t say enough about the extraordinary of our hospitals and health heroes throughout the pandemic, but more specifically in the present moment, where exhaustion and long hours greet them every day.” , said Pritzker. “From Chicago to Marion, East St. Louis to Rockford, healthcare professionals and staff are looking after our families, neighbors and friends at this time of need. They need help and I am doing everything I can to support them as they face this latest wave. “
Pritzker said the goal is to give workers a break during the omicron wave sweeping the country and to create more hospital beds in the state.
“With an unprecedented number of hospital patients, we must do everything
we can keep our healthcare workers and institutions in business and
accessible to all who need medical assistance, ”he said.
The Illinois Department of Public Health said Wednesday that 7,219 patients are currently hospitalized in the state, a drop of more than 100 patients from Tuesday’s record.
Officials say data is starting to show a slowdown in statewide hospitalizations, but warn residents should not let their guard down and should continue to adhere to new mitigation measures and existing regulations as Illinois is working to reverse the surge caused by the omicron.
According to IDPH data, 1,131 of those patients are currently in intensive care units, down from Tuesday and continuing a recent trend of flattening the metric.
“This wave of COVID is making more people sick than ever in this pandemic, and the vast majority of serious illnesses and deaths are among the unvaccinated,” Pritzker said. “As difficult as this moment is, there will be an end. We have all the tools necessary for prevention, and we are closer than ever to having everything we need to detect and treat disease to even maintain the diseases. most vulnerable people alive. ”
With the state of Illinois setting new records for patients hospitalized with COVID-19, there has been some setback on how these hospitalizations are defined.
While the state of Illinois does not distinguish between people hospitalized specifically for COVID and those who test positive for COVID while receiving care for another illness, Dr. Allison Arwady, Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, said the distinction does not change the fact. that COVID poses the same problems for healthcare professionals, whether or not it is the cause of a person’s admission to hospital.
“If someone has COVID and they’re in the hospital, they occupy the same hospital bed, they need the same PPE and the same infection control and extra care, extra nursing support,” etc. So when someone is in the hospital with or for COVID, they have the same added burden. “
Arwady said the number of patients with COVID but hospitalized for something else does not represent “the majority” of hospitalization numbers.
“I wish it was, (but) that’s not what determines our hospital numbers,” she said.
Illinois Department of Public Health director Dr Ngozi Ezike said it was too early to say whether the state was peaking in omicron cases, but that hospitals continued to “put up with it. weight ”of the outbreak, with 9% of ICU beds currently available.
“It’s an intensive care bed for anything COVID or not COVID,” she said. “These beds are not designated. Every hospital bed occupied by a person with COVID, who has not been vaccinated, could potentially have avoided that hospitalization. And we are making it difficult for people who have a heart attack, who end up in a car accident, have their appendix burst, have a cancer-related complication – any kind of medical emergency, we threaten the ability of these people to get the care they need. “