Chicago hospitals seeing double number of COVID-19 patients in ICU, health officials 'better prepared' for 2nd surge

Take a look inside Northwestern Medicine's COVID-19 units
CHICAGO (WLS) -- Some health providers say they are better prepared for this second surge of COVID-19 in Chicago despite seeing double the number of COVID-19 patients in ICU.

Northwestern Medicine shared a video with us showing us what it's like inside their COVID-19 units.

"We've still been on the front lines. We still have been taking care of COVID," said Dr. Khalilah Gates at Northwestern Medicine.

The team led by Dr. Gates, who specializes in Pulmonary and Critical Care, is covered in PPE as they continue to care for those most sick with the virus.

"We are very much well into in a second surge," Gates said. "I am very concerned that our numbers are going to continue to go up."

Gates said the lessons learned from the initial coronavirus surge in spring has prepared health providers for the latest spike in cases. She said they have maintained negative pressure areas, and have the staff and PPE needed for the new surge.

"We know what we need now," Gates said. "We have protocols in place for treatment of these patients that we know work. That leaves us in a much more confident position."

Since the beginning of October, COVID-19 cases have doubled, according to Cook County Health.

In anticipation of the second surge, Cook County has maintained its COVID-19 areas and are taking advantage of new treatments, including two trials with an antibody infusion.

"When patients get this type of antibody in comparison to just the placebo that acquires levels within their circulation, particularly in the lining of their respiratory system, goes down," said Dr. Gregory Huhn, Cook County Infectious Disease.

Eli Lilly, one of the world's largest pharmaceutical companies, has manufactured the antibody infusion and shared a video of its process.

"These are, again, new generation monoclonal antibodies specifically designed to interfere with the virus' capability to latch on to our tissues, to our cells and cause damage within our bodies," Dr. Huhn said.

While healthcare providers say they may be ready for an increase in cases, they hope the public has also learned lessons. They urge people to remain vigilant wearing their masks, hand washing and social distancing in order to keep loved ones safe.
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