Illinois COVID Update: IL reports 4,451 cases, 40 deaths; mitigations could return, Pritzker says

6 Illinois regions, 3 in Chicago area, under threshold for available ICU beds

ByJessica D'Onofrio, Karen Jordan, and ABC7 Chicago Digital Team WLS logo
Wednesday, August 25, 2021
As hospital rates rise, Pritzker says mitigations could return
Governor Pritzker has warned Illinois could see the return of stricter COVID mitigations as hospitalization rates increase.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Illinois Department of Public Health officials reported 4,451 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 and 40 related deaths Wednesday.

There have been 1,499,022 total COVID cases, including 23,816 deaths in the state since the pandemic began.

Illinois COVID vaccine map shows how many residents vaccinated by county

The preliminary seven-day statewide test positivity from Aug. 17-24 is at 5.8%.

Within the past 24 hours, laboratories have reported testing 78,206 specimens for a total of 28,393,030 since the pandemic began.

As of Tuesday night, 2,197 patients in Illinois were reported to be in the hospital with COVID-19. Of those, 515 patients were in the ICU and 240 patients with COVID-19 were on ventilators.

A total of 13,861,875 vaccines have been administered in Illinois as of Tuesday. The seven-day rolling average of vaccines administered daily is 24,196. On Tuesday, 28,624 vaccines were administered.

RELATED: Johnson & Johnson booster shot generates huge spike in COVID antibodies, company says

Governor JB Pritzker says Illinois may impose greater mitigations if the number of cases continues to rise and if the number of available hospital beds continues to fall.

"If we are not able to bring these numbers down, if hospitals continue to fill, if the hospital beds and ICUs get full like they are in Kentucky - that's just next door to Illinois - if that happens, we're going to have to impose significantly greater mitigations," Gov. Pritzker said.

In several regions of the state, ICU bed availability, is below the warning threshold of 20%. In Chicago, it's at 18% and at 16% in suburban Cook County.

Intensive care unit beds continue to fill up in Lake and McHenry counties, where only 15% of ICU beds are available.

Most are occupied by non-COVID patients, but with cases on the rise, hospitals are taking stock to offset a strain on their resources.

"We do have capacity around our system, so as a system, we feel positive about being able to handle a surge that comes in," said Dr. Dipul Patadia, Advocate Condell Medical Center.

Pitadia said the number of people coming to the hospital with COVID has increased tenfold since July, though less than 10% of those patients are being admitted to the ICU. Pitadia said the ones who are admitted are mostly unvaccinated - and younger.

"We had been seeing more elderly patients get admitted to the ICU before, but we're seeing some of the younger ones come in now," he said.

At Northwestern Medicine's Huntley Hospital in McHenry County, administrators say they are running at and above capacity. Most of their ICU beds are being occupied by non-COVID patients but as COVID cases rise, they have had to get creative to make extra room.

"So what we have had to do is open up alternative care spaces to be able to deliver care to our community. We have opened up here at McHenry Hospital our incident command just so that we can truly coordinate patients that are being discharged from the hospital, but then quickly pulling up the patients from the emergency department or other areas," said Catie Schmit, chief nurse executive at Northwestern Medicine Huntley Hospital.

The situation in southern Illinois very concerning, where there's just one ICU bed currently available for a 20-county region.

Meanwhile the governor has not been specific about what kind of greater mitigations he could impose, like a return to indoor capacity limits for instance. But he has said that's something he hopes the state would never have to go back to.