Illinois reports most COVID-19 hospitalizations since July 1

Hospitals throughout Illinois are reporting the highest number of COVID-19 patients since July 1.

According to Illinois Department of Public Health figures, 1,631 patients were hospitalized with the respiratory disease at the start of the day Thursday. Over the past four days alone, hospitals statewide have added 182 new patients, an average of 46 new hospitalizations each day.

Of those hospitalized, 390 were being treated in intensive care units, taking up 10.2% of all ICU beds in the state. That's the highest occupancy rate of ICU beds by coronavirus patients since the end of June, according to IDPH figures.

State health officials also reported another 24 deaths from COVID-19 and 1,707 new cases of the respiratory disease Thursday.

That brings the state's death toll to 7,977 since the outbreak began, with 227,334 Illinois residents testing positive for the disease as well during that time.

Twelve of the deaths reported Thursday were in Chicago and the collar counties and 12 were downstate.

Positive results among tests performed are at a daily average of 4.1% for the week.

IDPH tracks hospitalizations in 11 regions, with Chicago and the suburbs making up five of those regions. They are: Chicago; suburban Cook County; Lake and McHenry counties; DuPage and Kane counties; and Will and Kankakee counties.

Suburban Cook County is averaging 22 COVID-19 hospitalizations a day, as of Monday. Hospitals in the region are reporting 31% of all hospital beds are open. IDPH does not report how many people are released from hospitals in each region daily.

The Will and Kankakee region is averaging 10 new COVID-19 admissions each day and hospitals report only 28% of hospital beds are available, the lowest of any suburban region. Illinois officials recently imposed restrictions such as no indoor dining and group size limits of 25 after the average daily test positivity rate surpassed 8% for multiple days.

In Lake and McHenry counties, hospitals are averaging seven new admissions daily for COVID-19. The hospitals report 35% of beds are open.

In DuPage and Kane counties, administrators are reporting 32% bed availability and an average of 12 new COVID-19 patients daily.

Hospital officials say the caseloads are manageable.

"Admissions of patients with confirmed cases of coronavirus at (Naperville's) Edward Hospital have slowly risen over the last two weeks, into the high teens, but today the number of inpatients was down to 13," said Dr. Sanjeeb Khatua, executive vice president and chief physician executive at Edward-Elmhurst Health. "Neither Edward Hospital nor Elmhurst Hospital have seen a significant uptick in COVID-19 admissions."

Chicago has the lowest rate of available hospital beds in any IDPH region, with just 25% open, according to the IDPH report. The city's hospitals are also averaging 22 new COVID-19 patients a day.

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