Illinois COVID-19: IL on verge of new shutdown, Pritzker warns, as state reports 15,415 new cases, 27 deaths

IL COVID-19 hospitalizations putting strain on healthcare workers, hospital exec says

Saturday, November 14, 2020
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Hospital beds around Illinois are starting to fill up as the state shattered its daily COVID-19 case record, reporting 15,415 new cases Friday.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Gov. JB Pritzker warned that Illinois could be on the verge of having to shut down again as state public health officials reported 15,415 new COVID-19 confirmed and probable cases, a one-day record, and 27 deaths Friday.

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The total number of cases in Illinois now stands at 551,957, with a total of 10,504 deaths.

Over a 24-hour period, officials said the state processed 106,540 specimens, for a total 8,871,640.

WATCH: Gov. Pritzker gives COVID-19 Update on Nov. 13, 2020

The preliminary seven-day statewide test positivity from Nov. 6 to Nov. 12 is 13.2%.

As of Thursday night, 5,362 patients were hospitalized with COVID-19, with 990 in the ICU and 488 patients on ventilators.

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The sharp rise in hospitalizations is leading to a different kind of COVID fatigue.

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"Our healthcare workers are tired. This COVID fatigue is real, and as we've seen a significant spike over the past few weeks, as you make rounds around the hospital, people are struggling," said Dr. Sanjeeb Khatua, executive vice president of Edward-Elmhurst Health.

Illinois has the highest number of COVID-related hospitalizations during the pandemic, and beds are filling up. Suburban Cook, Kane and DuPage counties now have 19% of their non-ICU beds available, below the critical 20% threshold, which is seen as a red light.

In Will and Kankakee counties, just 12% of ICU beds are open.

"We are seeing capacity decrease everywhere," said IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike. "100%, 200%, 300% increases depending on where you are, so everybody's capacity is being threatened."

"No measure that we can do at the state level is going to have, going to allow us to have enough beds. And so the power, everybody is saying what are we going to do? What are you going to do? Individuals need to take the responsibility to control this virus," she added.

"As our numbers continue to rise, as the community spread continues to increase, we can anticipate that it's going to be harder and harder to staff as people get sicker and sicker from COVID," Khatua said.

Gov. Pritzker threatened that if things don't improve across the state, another lockdown may be the only option left.

WATCH: Gov. Pritzker discusses Thanksgiving safety during pandemic

Illinois is seeing projections that are worse than what it saw this spring, Pritzker said. The state is better prepared with stockpiles of PPE, better testing and overflow capacity plans for hospitals. But even still, some form of a mandatory stay-at-home order is not off the table, he said.

"The numbers don't lie," Gov. Pritzker said. "If things don't take a turn in the coming days, we will quickly reach the point when some form of a mandatory stay-at-home order is all that will be left. With every fiber of my being, I do not want us to get there. But right now, that seems where we are headed."

The governor had a simple question for elected leaders who remain defiant and refuse to enforce state guidelines.

"Those who have flat out told the businesses in their communities to ignore what their local and state public health departments and experts, some of the best in the nation, are telling them: What is it going to take to get you to be a part of the solution?" Pritzker asked.

The governor also recommended anyone thinking of traveling for, or hosting, Thanksgiving to quarantine for the next two weeks. He also reiterated the need for people to stay home as much as possible for the next three weeks.

Gov. Pritzker also announced another extension of the state's renter eviction moratorium. The current moratorium was set to expire Saturday, and advocates of tenants were warning about the possibility of mass evictions.

"It's very stressful, and then on top of that, you know, I do have COVID and things are just not looking good on my end. It's very hard," said Melissa Malcom.

Malcom moved into her apartment in September, but has been struggling to find enough work to pay rent. She is now two months behind on her rent.

Pritzker was adamant that a moratorium on evictions is not enough to help people like Malcom, caught in a precarious position because of the pandemic.

"We need a new congressional stimulus for people in this country as soon as possible," he said. "But because we can't just wait around for the Republicans in the U.S. Senate to take action, I'll also be extending the moratorium on evictions for an additional 30 days."

The moratorium does come with some changes, though, to help small landlords like Calvin Bright, who said his upstairs tenant owes $4,600 in back rent and refuses to pay even though she now has a job.

"When a tenant sits there and tell you dead in your face that I'm going to have to evict her and then she told me on top of that, that she was working. She's, she's beating the system, you know this this is ridiculous," he said.

To that end, the new eviction moratorium requires tenants to certify their income situation to landlords to prevent people from scamming the system.

WATCH: Illinois public health officials urge residents to stay home during next 3 weeks

The Illinois Department of Public Health is calling on residents to work from home if possible, to only leave their homes for essential activities - such as grocery shopping, visiting a pharmacy or getting a COVID-19 test - to limit travel especially to areas experiencing high positivity rates, and limit gatherings - even small groups - that mix households, including for Thanksgiving.

Pritzker also announced Friday the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services has unveiled a new equity-centric healthcare plan that addresses the social and structural determinants of health.

"As we continue to address the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, ensuring equitable healthcare access and delivery is more important than ever, especially in Black and Brown communities and for Illinois residents who are uninsured or underinsured," Pritzker said. "Under this newly released plan, my administration will work with our partners in the General Assembly to establish a system where all Illinoisans, regardless of their background or where they live, receive the quality care they deserve."

If implemented, the new HFS plan would fund pilot projects and planning grants to address both healthcare and social determinants of health, emphasize collaboration with community-based organizations plus one unrelated healthcare provider, and ensure that health equity is a measurable, primary focus of each project, the governor's office said.

Visit for more information.

The deaths reported Friday included:

- Carroll County: 1 female 90s

- Champaign County: 1 female 80s, 1 female 90s

- Cook County: 1 female 60s, 2 females 70s, 1 male 70s

- Greene County: 1 female 90s

- Jersey County: 1 female 90s

- Jo Daviess County: 1 male 70s

- Kane County: 2 males 90s

- Knox County: 1 male 70s

- LaSalle County: 1 female 90s

- Macon County: 1 female 100+

- Madison County: 1 female 70s, 1 female 80s, 1 male 80s

- McLean County: 1 female 90s

- Ogle County: 1 female 80s

- Pulaski County: 1 male 70s

- Saline County: 1 female 70s

- Sangamon County: 1 female 60s

- St. Clair County: 1 female 60s

- Will County: 1 female 90s

- Williamson County: 1 male 70s

- Winnebago County: 1 male 40s