Hospital workers see COVID-19 patients increase statewide; Naperville hospital hiring nurses, expanding units

NAPERVILLE, Ill. (WLS) -- Hospital workers are feeling the strain as hospitalizations continue to climb at record numbers.

As of Thursday night, 5,352 COVID-19 patients are currently hospitalized in Illinois hospitals. Patients include 990 in ICU beds and 488 on ventilators.

The suburban hospital system in Naperville has also seen another COVID-19 surge.

"It is just insane, you know. We're trying to find staff. We're trying to get people from other units to help us out," said Karly Sacco, nurse at Edward Hospital.

"Mentally, it is just as exhausting as the first one if not more," said Haley Dahlstrom, nurse at Edward Hospital.

Hospitals know which treatments work best this time around. Nurses point to remdesivir, blood thinners and convalescent plasma as key treatments for the COVID-19 virus.

"We have made a huge leap to help these people recover a lot faster," Sacco said.

There are nearly 200 COVID-19 patients currently and counting in Edward and Edward-Elmhurst hospitals. The ages of the patients are younger than in the spring, and there is more unpredictability.

"30s, 40s, 50s, 60s. I mean you're not seeing, and it is not because they have co-morbidities. I always say this is like in a weird way a Russian roulette, like there is no rhyme or reason as to which person is going to be sicker than the other," Sacco said.

Edward Hospital CEO Joseph Dant said the spike in cases could lead to delays on elective surgeries.

"We predicted to have a late-fall, winter surge. I'm not sure whether we predicted it would be this high, this fast," Dant said.

Edward Hospital looks to hire more nurses and medical staff as well as expand COVID-19 units as the statewide positivity rate rises.

Nurses said the workload is not just exhausting but mentally draining.

"Many days you just get in your car and cry," Sacco said.
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