'So exhausted and so tired': COVID-19 hospitalizations again break Illinois record

  • Patients in Illinois hospitals with COVID-19 came to 7,353 as of Monday night, the highest number of patients since the pandemic began.

    Patients in Illinois hospitals with COVID-19 came to 7,353 as of Monday night, the highest number of patients since the pandemic began. Associated Press

 
 
Updated 1/11/2022 6:10 PM

Hospitalizations broke another COVID record in Illinois, with 7,353 patients as of Monday evening, marking the sixth straight day of tallies over 7,000, according to state data.

The patient surge comes as experts pin hopes on spiraling cases peaking this month. However, hospitalizations trail infection rates, which could mean "two to three weeks before we see a decline," Edward Hospital Dr. Jonathan Pinsky suggested Tuesday.

 

Edward, like other hospitals, has been hitting admission highs caused by the highly contagious omicron variant of COVID-19. Staff members "are so exhausted and so tired of this," said Pinsky, medical director of infection control and prevention.

Tuesday, new cases of COVID-19 in Illinois reached 28,110, the eighth-highest count since the pandemic begin. Ninety-two more people died from the respiratory disease, the Illinois Department of Public Health reported.

The omicron variant has hit unvaccinated patients hard, Pinsky noted. Of those unvaccinated patients, about 70% or "the vast majority have severe COVID-19 and require oxygen."

"If we look at patients who are vaccinated, fewer of them are admitted for severe COVID," he said, noting about one-third have oxygen requirements and many are elderly and immunocompromised.

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"The take-home point: If you are vaccinated and had a booster, you are very unlikely to get severely ill," Pinsky said.

Currently, about 23% of Illinois' hospital beds are occupied with COVID-19 patients and nearly 59% are used by non-COVID patients, leaving 18% open.

At Edward, "we are swamped," Pinsky said, noting the hospital is canceling some of its elective surgeries.

However, "we are still admitting patients. We haven't closed the doors at all and don't anticipate we will have to do this."

One statewide positive lies in lower rates of COVID-19 patients requiring ICU beds and ventilators compared to previous surges. The seven-day average for ICU patients is 1,130.6 as of Tuesday, contrasted with a high of 1,290 on April 28, 2020, in the pandemic's first onslaught.

The seven-day average for ventilators in use is 647, lower than the record of 800 on April 12, 2020.

The state's positivity rate for COVID-19 cases is 12% based on a seven-day average, lower than Monday's total of 13.4%.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

This week, there have been no new case counts over 30,000. "There's some signs of progress in terms of the omicron surge," Chicago Commissioner of Public Health Allison Arwady said at a briefing, adding there was a "90% chance" cases peak in January.

On Monday, 36,059 more COVID-19 shots were administered. The seven-day average is 52,187. To find information about getting vaccinated, check with your doctor or go to vaccines.gov.

So far, 8,217,575 people have been fully vaccinated or 64.8% of Illinois' 12.7 million population, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. That means two doses of Pfizer Inc. or Moderna Inc.'s vaccines or one Johnson & Johnson dose.

Of those people who are fully vaccinated, 42% have received a booster shot.

The federal government has delivered 22,348,645 doses of vaccine to Illinois since distribution began in mid-December 2020, and 19,722,607 shots have been administered.

Total cases statewide stand at 2,488,380 and 28,660 Illinoisans have died since the pandemic began.

Labs processed 347,053 virus tests in the last 24 hours, the second-highest total for Illinois.

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