In response to southern Illinois’ Region 5 running out of staffed intensive care unit beds as of noon Tuesday, the Illinois Department of Public Health is working to open up more resources for the region hard-hit by COVID-19.
IDPH has set up contractural hospital staff and “will have deployed more than 100 health care staff to hospitals in region 5 by the end of the week with more staffing needs being fulfilled in the coming weeks,” IDPH spokesperson Melaney Arnold said in an email.
“To further relieve some of the pressure on our healthcare system, IDPH sought and received federal approval to use three U.S. Veterans’ Affairs Medical Center (Danville, Marion, St. Louis) medical and ICU beds for the next month,” Arnold said. “Since just last night, four individuals have been transferred to VA hospitals because a lack of bed availability.”
About 40% of staffed ICU beds in use in Region 5 are occupied by COVID-19 patients, Arnold said. As of Tuesday, the region’s positivity rate was 10.3%.
Arnold said Illinois residents need to continue to follow COVID-19 protocols to prevent the spread.
“However, all of these emergency actions are temporary fixes and Illinoisans need to follow the commonsense mitigations in place to stop the spread and stem the tide of hospitalizations due to COVID-19,” Arnold said. “We have three safe vaccines that are highly effective at preventing hospitalization and death from COVID-19. Getting vaccinated is crucial to reducing the burden on our health care and hospital systems.”
Southern Illinois Healthcare, based in Carbondale, posted Monday that at its hospitals, it had 66 hospitalized COVID-19 patients, seven of which were fully vaccinated. Of the 15 COVID-19 patients in its ICUs and the 14 on ventilators, all were unvaccinated.