Hospitalizations, ventilator use dip in Illinois; 46 more have died

  • Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker

    Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker Courtesy of ABC 7 Chicago

 
 
Updated 5/4/2020 7:25 PM

The number of Illinoisans fighting COVID-19 in hospitals has decreased, as has the tally of those on ventilators, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Monday.

Regarding ventilators, "that's a lot lower than we expected at this point," Pritzker said.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The news came as the number of people perishing from COVID-19 increased by 46 in one day, officials said Monday, and the tally of cases climbed by 2,341.

The average number of daily new cases over the last seven days was 2,565, and the average number of deaths was 99. Both of Monday's tallies are below average.

Total fatalities statewide are 2,662 with 63,840 reported infections since the respiratory disease outbreak began.

The state has ramped up testing, announcing a record 19,417 tests in 24 hours Sunday with new drive-through sites, including one in Waukegan, coming online. Officials on Monday said 13,834 new tests were performed in the last 24 hours with a positive rate of about 17% compared to averages of 20% earlier in April.

Meanwhile, Illinois' hospitalization rate is showing some progress -- for now. As of April 5, there were 3,680 COVID-19 patients in hospitals compared to 4,599 on April 19.

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That number climbed to 4,672 on April 26, but dipped to 4,493 as of midnight Sunday, Pritzker said.

As for ventilator use, it has declined in the last four weeks, from 29% of COVID-19 patients being on ventilators on April 6 to 22% as of midnight Sunday.

But that doesn't mean the state should relax its vigilance, Pritzker said.

He defended the effort and millions spent at McCormick Place on readying a temporary hospital that now is being partly dismantled.

"The fact we haven't had to use most of the beds at McCormick Place is an indicator of the success we've had with the stay-at-home order," Pritzker said.

So far, data shows ICU beds remain available for COVID-19 patients in the suburbs.

In the West suburbs, 15.9% or 77 ICU beds were available as of midnight Sunday, Pritzker said. In the Northwest suburbs, 38.3% or 152 beds were available, and in the North suburbs 11.9% or 27 beds were available.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The next prong is contact tracing, or finding out individuals who are in contact with COVID-19 individuals while they are infectious. Pritzker has announced the state will hire "thousands" and promised more information will come soon.

"We want to make we sure have a system that's up and running for accepting those applications," he said.

The latest data comes after a weekend of beautiful weather coinciding with an extension of the state's stay-at-home order until May 30 to reduce spread of the virus.

Some restrictions were lifted on businesses, golf courses and state parks on Friday.

That wasn't enough for some people, who protested across the state, including about 100 individuals in Algonquin Sunday saying Pritzker is ruining the economy.

However, federal Judge John Lee on Sunday dismissed the Beloved Church of Lena's lawsuit stating the executive order violates its religious freedoms. The Church wanted a temporary restraining order allowing it to hold services.

"Given the continuing threat posed by COVID-19, the order preserves relatively robust avenues for praise, prayer and fellowship and passes constitutional muster," Lee wrote.

Asked about people who ignored social distancing requirements and if scofflaws should be arrested, Pritzker said, "if they are persistently defiant they can be put in jail. It's not the best answer but it is an option for local law enforcement."

As numbers of cases flatten "it's because people have followed the rules," Pritzker said.

But if people break the rules and congregate, "they'll spread the virus," he said.

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