59 more COVID-19 deaths as Illinois surpasses 1.5 million infections
Deaths in Illinois from COVID-19 reached 59 Thursday, the highest in a single day since February, as rising case counts and hospitalizations led Gov. J.B. Pritzker to order a return to mask-wearing in public places and vaccination for school employees and others.
Illinois Department of Public Health officials reported 2,184 patients are being treated in hospitals throughout the state. Of those hospitalized, 489 are in intensive care, which IDPH Director Ngozi Ezike said are at a premium in some parts of the state and growing more scarce by the day.
"The ICU beds have run out, particularly in southern Illinois and parts of central Illinois, where the vaccination rates are the lowest," she said at a press briefing.
Just 30 of the 172 ICU beds in hospitals in Lake and McHenry counties are available, or 17.4%, according to IDPH figures.
In suburban Cook County, 120 of the 695 ICU beds are unoccupied, or 17.3%.
In DuPage and Kane counties, 72 of the 344 ICU beds are available, less than 21%.
In Will and Kankakee counties, 33 of 146 ICU beds -- 22.6% -- are currently available there.
Those ICU beds aren't just for COVID-19 patients, Ezike said, but "for anyone, whether it's appendicitis, a car crash, any kind of injury that would need that bed." The number of beds represent available staff members, she said, so hospitals can't simply add more of them.
Another 4,041 new cases were announced Thursday, pushing the number of Illinois residents who have been infected by the virus past 1.5 million. The death toll in Illinois from COVID-19 now stands at 23,875.
Pritzker said the level of hospitalizations statewide from the virus is unsustainable.
"We are running out of time as we are running out of beds," he said at Thursday's briefing. "These hospitalizations are preventable and vaccination is our tool."
IDPH officials reported 27,031 more doses of COVID-19 vaccine administered statewide, as well. That brings the total number of doses administered in Illinois to 13,888,906.
The state's public health agency is reporting 59% of the vaccine-eligible population of residents 12 and older are fully vaccinated.
Additionally, the state's seven-day case positivity rate is at 5.4%.