5 more COVID-19 deaths in Illinois; Pritzker outlines worst-case scenarios

  • 5 more COVID-19 deaths in Illinois; Pritzker outlines worst-case scenarios

5 more COVID-19 deaths in Illinois; Pritzker outlines worst-case scenarios

Pritzker also said that they have only received a fraction of those products from the federal government despite several requests.

"The question that everyone wants answered right now is how long is all of this going to last?"

While hospitals are now meeting the demand for beds and ventilators, Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Tuesday outlined what could've happened had he not ordered people to stay at home, and closed schools, restaurants and bars to slow the spread of the virus.

As of March 23, data reported to the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) showed 12,588 non-ICU beds, 1,106 ICU beds and 1,595 ventilators available in hospitals across the state. In February, the state had the capacity to test only about 50 people a day.

Additionally, Pritzker said the state now is testing about 2,000 individuals a day. "I know that's hard to accept, but it's honest, and I'm determined to be honest with you above all else".

Pritzker's "stay-at-home" order is meant to combat those worst-case scenarios.

As of Monday, roughly 57.4% of the state's 2,594 ICU beds were in use, while 28.4% of Illinois' 2,229 ventilators were in use, according to IDPH. We are not immune.

Finally, there are four commercial labs and 15 hospital labs operating across the state, which average about 1,500 tests per day. "Second, we are working to increase our health care capacity statewide so that when we do arrive at our next phase - which should not be our worst-case scenario but will be a point where hospitalizations significantly increase - we have the capacity to meet that need", Pritzker added.

Of the state's 209 hospitals, nearly 1/3 have set up triage centers outside their facilities to screen potential COVID-19 patients.

Pritzker said the difference between a regular ICU bed and a COVID-19 bed is a ventilator. "What we've seen in other countries of COVID-19's ability to overwhelm (health care) systems - that could happen here, too". The President promised assistance, and yesterday afternoon, the White House notified IDPH that IL will be receiving 300 ventilators and 300,000 N95 masks from FEMA in the coming days. "We are in a city where COVID-19 is actively spreading through our neighborhoods today".

The total of lives lost in IL due to COVID-19 is now at 16. Over 11,400 people have been tested in IL so far.

Working to expand capacity by thousands of more tests a day, the state continues to partner with hospitals to bring additional labs online and is exploring additional mobile testing sites across the state, along with continued consistent delivery of necessary supplies, such as the reagent and viral transport media.

Still, this message remains: Because of short supplies, IL is prioritizing testing for the sickest patients. Those who have mild symptoms should stay home and isolate themselves. "I am concerned that we may have to extend that deadline".

Pritzker was also asked about the condition of the state budget, which is being deluged by likely steep drops in tax revenues and an unknown jump in COVID-19-related costs. The number of cases, which have occurred in ages younger than 1 to 99, has risen by 250 since Monday.

"You can't have a livelihood without a life", Pritzker said. "I don't think anybody expected where we'd be today". Kristen Schorsch covers public health and Cook County politics for WBEZ.