Illinois COVID-19: IL on verge of new shutdown, Pritzker warns, as state reports 11,028 new cases, 166 deaths

An average of nearly 5K COVID-19 patients were hospitalized across the state last week

ByEric Horng and Alexis McAdams and Jesse Kirsch WLS logo
Sunday, November 15, 2020
COVID-19 surge is leading to a shortage of ICU beds statewide
Governor JB Pritzker said Saturday that the surge is leading to a shortage of ICU beds statewide.

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 11,028 new COVID-19 confirmed and probable cases, and 166 deaths Saturday.

There was a delay in death data reporting on November 13, 2020. Therefore, 66 deaths that occurred that day are being reported with Saturday's total, Dr. Ngozi Ezike explained during Friday's COVID-19 briefing.

The average of hospitalizations for the last seven days is 4,933. That's the highest on record - the previous highest having been 4,817 on May 3rd.

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

Governor JB Pritzker said Saturday that the surge is leading to a shortage of ICU beds statewide.

Doctor Kalisha Hill, the chief medical officer at Amita Health St. Mary's, said they are preparing to expand their COVID-19 units.

"We are seeing numbers that we did not see this high in the spring," she said. "Right now, Kankakee County is at a 28% positivity rate."

Illinois public health officials reported a record-high 15,415 new COVID-19 cases Friday and 27 deaths as they call on residents to stay home as much as possible.

It is an alarm state health officials have been sounding for weeks.

Governor Pritzker took to Twitter this weekend, sharing a new chart and a warning message.

"We have regions at risk for potential ICU bed shortages and staffing shortages as our case rates continue to rise."

According to new data just released by the Illinois Department of Public Health, in the past week, there has been an average of nearly 5,000 COVID-19 patients in hospital beds across the state. The highest average on record.

In Region 7, which includes Will and Kankakee counties, there are only 23 ICU beds available.

"We have the ICU but also another tower where we can expand for additional beds and we have moved the patients there as well," Dr. Hill said. "We are able to bring in additional staff as necessary."

IDPH metrics show the data will continue to rise and that is why the state is asking people to stay home to help bend the curve.

RELATED: Mayor Lightfoot issues Chicago COVID-19 stay-at-home advisory

"We are still at a point that we can try to slow the spread of the disease if everyone acts on their own now and limits the time they are out and who they are in contact with," Dr. Hill said.

The Will County Health Department has increased testing capability and is working with local hospitals as the cases spike.

The total number of cases in Illinois now stands at 562,985, with a total of 10,670 deaths.

Over a 24-hour period, officials said the state processed 114,370, setting a one-day record for the state.

In total there have been 8,986,010 specimens tested since the start of the pandemic in Illinois.

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

Gov. Pritzker and Dr. Ezike gave a COVID-19 update Friday, November 13, as Illinois reported more than 15,000 new COVID-19 cases, shattering previous daily records.

The preliminary seven-day statewide test positivity from November 7, 2020 - November 13, 2020, is 14.7%.

As of Friday night, 1,018 patients were in the ICU with COVID-19 and 499 patients with COVID-19 were on ventilators.

RELATED: Myths about COVID-19 busted: Masks, indoor transmission, cold weather, and more

The sharp rise in hospitalizations has lead to a different kind of COVID fatigue.

"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.

"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, and said that the state has reached "crisis" level.

WATCH: Gov. Pritzker discusses Thanksgiving safety during pandemic

Gov. JB Pritzker shared how residents can celebrate Thanksgiving safely during his daily COVID-19 briefing on November 12, 2020.

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.

Illinois shattered its daily COVID-19 case record with more than 15,000 new cases reported, while Gov. Pritzker extended the state's eviction moratorium with some changes.

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.

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.

"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 tells 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 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

New recommendations for Illinois residents to limit activity outside the home come as the state recorded its deadliest day since May.

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 Saturday included:

-Adams County: 1 female 50s, 1 female 90s

-Bond County: 1 male 80s

-Brown County: 1 male 60s

-Bureau County: 1 male 80s

-Champaign County: 1 female 90s

-Clinton County: 1 male 60s, 1 female 70s, 1 male 70s

-Coles County: 1 female 60s

-Cook County: 2 males 40s, 4 females 50s, 2 males 50s, 6 females 60s, 10 males 60s, 1 female 70s, 7 males 70s, 8 females 80s, 14 males 80s, 6 females 90s, 7 males 90s

-DuPage County: 1 male 50s, 1 female 80s, 2 males 80s, 2 males 90s

-Effingham County: 2 females 90s

-Franklin County: 1 female 90s

-Henry County: 1 male 70s

-Iroquois County: 1 female 60s

-Kane County: 1 male 50s, 1 female 60s, 1 female 70s, 3 females 80s, 1 female 90s, 2 males 90s

-Kankakee County: 1 male 80s

-Kendall County: 1 female 60s, 1 female 70s

-Knox County: 1 female 60s, 1 male 80s, 1 male 90s

-Lake County: 1 male 50s, 1 male 60s, 1 male 70s, 1 male 80s, 1 female 90s, 2 males 90s

-LaSalle County: 1 male 90s

-Livingston County: 1 male 60s

-Macon County: 1 female 70s, 1 male 70s, 1 female 80s, 2 males 80s

-Madison county: 1 female 50s, 1 female 60s, 1 female 70s

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

-Monroe County: 2 females 90s, 1 male 90s

-Ogle County: 1 female 70s, 1 male 70s

-Peoria County: 1 female 40s, 2 males 60s, 1 female 70s, 1 male 70s, 2 females 90s

-Randolph County: 1 female 60s, 1 female 90s

-Rock Island County: 1 male 80s

-Sangamon County: 1 female 70s, 1 male 70s, 1 male 90s

-Shelby County: 1 male 60s

-Stephenson County: 1 female 70s

-Tazewell County: 1 female 60s, 1 male 70s, 1 female 90s

-Vermilion County: 1 male 60s, 2 males 80s, 1 female 90s

-Wayne County: 1 male 60s

-Whiteside County: 1 female 90s

-Will County: 1 female 60s, 2 females 70s, 3 males 70s, 1 female 80s, 2 males 80s, 1 female 90s

-Williamson County: 1 male 70s

-Winnebago County: 1 female 80s

-Woodford County: 1 female 80s, 1 male 80s