Pritzker warns of 'significantly greater mitigations' as COVID-19 patients increase

  • Gov. J.B. Pritzker said he might have to impose "significantly greater mitigations" throughout the state as COVID-19 hospitalizations increase and a dearth of intensive care beds begins to mount.

    Gov. J.B. Pritzker said he might have to impose "significantly greater mitigations" throughout the state as COVID-19 hospitalizations increase and a dearth of intensive care beds begins to mount. Chicago Sun-Times/April 2020

Updated 8/24/2021 4:13 PM

With more than 500 COVID-19 patients in intensive care throughout Illinois for the first time since April, Gov. J.B. Pritzker warned of imposing "significantly greater mitigations" if the rise in hospitalizations continues.

The Illinois Department of Public Health is reporting 525 of the 2,161 COVID-19 patients hospitalized throughout the state are in ICU beds.


Less than 20% of ICU beds are available in six of the state's 11 health regions. That includes Chicago, suburban Cook County and Lake and McHenry counties. But in far southern Region 5, which contains 20 counties, just 4% of ICU beds are empty, according to IDPH records.

Pritzker warned that hospital beds are running out in Kentucky, which borders Region 5. That could put a strain on hospitals in southern Illinois.

"If hospitals continue to fill, if that happens, we're going to have to impose significantly greater mitigations," Pritzker said at an event today in Chicago. "Those are things on the menu that we don't want to go back to."

State mitigations such as mask requirements and capacity limits in businesses and public settings were lifted in June.

Pritzker said he'd prefer local government set guidance and policy on mitigation rather than relying on the state's "more broadly" imposed approach.

"We set a standard in the state of Illinois, a minimum," the governor said. "But local officials should react properly to the data in their local areas in order to keep everybody safe."

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IDPH figures released today show hospitals throughout the state are now averaging in-house treatment of more than 2,000 COVID-19 patients a day, the most since late May. However, the growth in patients shows early signs of leveling off.

Meanwhile, IDPH officials also reported 19,934 more doses of the COVID-19 vaccines have made it into the arms of Illinois residents and workers.

So far, 13,833,251 doses have been administered statewide, fully vaccinating 58.8% of the eligible population of residents who are 12 and older, according to Illinois Department of Public Health data.

Officials also reported 75.9% of that population have received at least one vaccine dose.

Vaccine providers are averaging 23,821 inoculations a day over the past week, IDPH records show.

IDPH officials also reported 15 more COVID-19 deaths, as well as diagnosing 2,989 new cases of the virus.

That brings the state's death toll from the respiratory disease to 23,776, while 1,494,571 Illinois residents have been infected.


The state's current seven-day case positivity rate is at 5%, down from 5.4% a week ago.

The case positivity figure is the percentage of new cases derived from a batch of tests and allows health officials to track the level of infection within a certain population.

A seven-day average is used to account for any anomalies in the daily reporting of those figures.

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