By Jim Hagerty
CHICAGO – There have been 3,680 people hospitalized in Illinois for COVID-19, Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Tuesday.
Of the hospitalized patients, 1,166 were in intensive care as of April 6. Of those patients, 821 were on one of the state’s nearly 2,700 ventilators.
Illinois currently has a total of about 28,000 hospital beds statewide, not including what will be available at alternate sites like McCormick Place, now ready for 500 patients, and the re-opned MetroSouth Medical Center in Blue Island.
And while 28,000 beds appears to be more than enough, the governor said much goes into whether hospitals can safely fill them.
“The number of hospital beds that we refer to as available at any given moment depends on a host of factors–newly discharged patients, the amount of available staff and equipment on hand, just to name a few,” Pritzker said, adding that the number of people in the hospital for non-covid reasons, such as car accidents, has dropped with fewer people on the roads since he implemented a statewide stay-at-home order.
“That’s a trend that’s now reflected across the country,” he said.
Numbers reported Tuesday indicate a strong handle on the outbreak. However, as things trend toward Illinois’ peak in new covid cases, ICU beds and ventilators may start to dwindle.
“Just a week ago, covid patients occupied about 35% of our total ICI beds and about 24% of our ventilators,” Pritzker said. “Today, covid patients occupy 43% of our total ICU beds and 29% of our total ventilators. That’s an 8-percent, and a 5-percent jump, respectively, in just a week.”
With that, the governor said, we are still in the thick of the fight.
“Believe me, I, too, would do just about anything for an immediate solution to this,” he said. “Here’s what you need to know though: That solution isn’t coming tomorrow, or next week or next month. But it is coming.”
Illinois is expected to reach its peak around April 16.
As of this report, 13,549 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in Illinois since the state began testing for the virus. There have been 380 fatalities.
Pritzker said there are likely many people in Illinois who have already had the virus and recovered without knowing it before testing was available. Antibody testing will ultimately reveal how many of those people there are, he said.
The first confirmed was case of COVID-19 in the United States was reported Jan. 20, after a 35-year-old man with a 4-day cough visited a Snohomish County, Washington. The man, who had just returned from Wuhan, China, can’t be considered patient zero though as COVID-19 had already been linked in December to Wuahn’s Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market. The man became aware of the virus through CDC warnings and decided to visit the clinic.
Meanwhile, thousands of people each week continued to enter the United States from China, passing through 149 intentional airports as COVID-19 was spreading. By Jan. 30, there were nearly 10,000 reported cases in at least 21 countries.
President Donald Trump’s ban on travel from China didn’t go into effect until Feb. 2. But it wasn’t truly a ban, as several places like Taiwan and Hong Kong were exempt. Travel restrictions on the rest the world didn’t happen until March 11.
“Every day that we support our health care systems,” Pritzker said, “every day that we flatten the curve, that’s another day that the incredible roster of scientists and researchers and innovators in the world come a little bit closer to finding solutions in the fight against COVID-19.”