As COVID-19 cases continue to increase, Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove on Friday had 33 COVID-19 inpatients, according to a spokeswoman.
Advocate Aurora Health, which oversees 26 hospitals in Wisconsin and Illinois, like other health care providers has seen COVID-19 hospitalizations increase steadily over the past month, spokeswoman Kate Thayer said.
“Over the past month, our COVID-19 inpatient census has more than doubled. We currently have 816 COVID-19 inpatients across our system, including 33 at Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital,” Thayer said in an email. “Beds are very tight, and the situation is complicated by workforce shortages impacting many industries across the nation. Despite the challenges, we have the flexibility as an integrated health system to move around resources including staff, equipment, and supplies, when and where needed.”
Thayer did not have an exact number of available beds. But hospitalizations for COVID-19 are on the rise across northern Illinois.
On Friday, Dr. Ngozi Ezike, who heads the Illinois Department of Public Health, said COVID-19 hospitalizations are “rising at an alarming rate” in northern Illinois’ Region 1, a geographical area which includes DeKalb County and the Sauk Valley.
“We are seeing COVID admission rates at a severely alarming rate,” Ezike said during a news conference held Friday morning with officials from the Rockford area. “Hospital bed availability has reached critically low levels, demand on resources is high and wait times in local emergency rooms are very long.”
As of Thursday, 8% of Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds are available in Region 1, according to state data. The seven-day rolling positivity rate for Region 1, which runs north to Rockford and west to the Iowa border, is 9.2%. The DeKalb County positivity rate is at 6.6%. Positivity rates are reported with a three-day data lag. Region 1 also reported a seven-day average of 264 COVID-19 patients hospitalized.
Ezike said it’s imperative that beds remain free for both COVID-19 patients and others. Surges continue to take a toll on both overwhelmed hospital staff and availability for staff to treat patients within reasonable time. The IDPH director said people experiencing non-emergency healthcare needs should instead go to clinics or primary care providers, to free up needed space in emergency rooms.
She said the continued course of action remains to prioritize vaccinations, the best way to stop continued spread and limit severe cases of viral infection that require hospitalization.
“Our key message here continues to be get the vaccine,” Ezike said. “And if vaccinated and eligible, get the booster. However, we are also urging the public to use primary care providers, walk-in clinics and urgent care facilities for non-emergency needs so emergency department beds remain available.”