DuPage County works to expand testing; hospital bed availability in question
CHICAGO (WLS) -- Illinois public health officials reported 8,322 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 along with 47 deaths Monday.
The total number of cases in Illinois now stands at 664,620, with a total of 11,553 deaths.
Over a 24-hour period, officials said the state processed 91,562 specimens. In total there have been 9,892,981 tests specimens tested since the start of the pandemic in Illinois.
The preliminary seven-day statewide test positivity from Nov. 16 - Nov. 22 is 12.7%.
As of Sunday night, 6,171 people in Illinois were reported to be hospitalized with COVID-19. Of those, 1,206 patients were in the ICU with COVID-19 and 635 patients with COVID-19 were on ventilators.
The deaths reported Monday include:
Champaign County: 1 male 70s
-Cook County: 4 males 50s, 2 females 60s, 4 males 60s, 3 female 70s, 6 males 70s, 5 females 80s, 3 males 80s, 5 females 90s, 2 males 90s
- DuPage County: 1 male 90s
-Kane County: 1 male 60s
-Lake County: 1 female 90s
-Livingston County: 1 female 60s, 1 male 70s
-McDonough County: 1 female 70s
-McHenry County: 1 female 70s
-Morgan County: 1 male 70s
-Ogle County: 1 male 90s
-Peoria County: 1 female 70s
-St. Clair County: 1 male 80s
-Warren County: 1 male 80s
Governor J.B. Pritzker and his team held Monday's daily COVID-19 briefing virtually. He said he remains concerned that there could be a surge in new cases from people traveling over the Thanksgiving holiday.
Dr. Ezike raised concerns about the continued rise in COVID-19 cases - and not just the dwindling number of available beds, but staff able to take care of those patients.
"Thanksgiving hasn't happened yet. People can still change their plans and change the outcome," said Dr. Ngozi Ezike, director of the Illinois Dept. of Public Health. "We don't have to have superspreader events at homes throughout our state and throughout the country and then bring it back. Please reconsider your plans and see if we can be part of the solution to decrease infections, instead of part of the plan to increase them."
Gov. Pritzker worked out of his Gold Coast mansion Monday. Since he has asked anyone in the state to work from home if they can to slow the spread of the virus, he is having his staff do just that this week.
There are also continued concerns about growing fraud in Illinois unemployment claims, with officials sharing a warning for people to be very careful to monitor their credit reports.
The acting head of the Illinois Department of Employment Security added that if you have not applied for benefits, but received a bank card in the mail, that's a sure sign of fraud.
There have been long lines at testing sites throughout the Chicago area, including DuPage County.
The city of West Chicago, the Illinois Department of Public Health and the DuPage County Health Department joined together to put on the mobile testing site, located at 508 W. Main St. Organizers planned to remain open from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m., or until the tests run out.
There are also other ongoing testing sites:
The mayor of West Chicago sent a letter this week, pleading with residents to stay home for Thanksgiving. He cited the rising number of cases in West Chicago.
DuPage County officials added another community-based drive-thru testing site at the Odeum Expo Center, located at 1033 N. Villa Ave. in Villa Park.
It opened Monday, and the week of Thanksgiving the site will be operational Monday through Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. or until the daily test capacity of 600 tests is completed each day. The week of Nov. 29, the site will operate from Sunday, Nov. 29 through Friday, Dec. 4 with the same hours and test capacity.
"We know there's a lot of spread with the virus happening," said Stephanie Calvillo, a spokesperson for the DuPage County Health Dept. "The more cases occur, the more those cases are going to turn into others."
Six hundred tests per day are available at the Odeum Expo Pavilion. Patients administer the swabs themselves as they drive through.
"They just gave me the stick and I put it in my nostrils - one of each, five times," said Sylvia Vega, of Northlake. "It was OK, better than the last time that I did it."
Results from the PCR test are promised in four to five days. Officials hope the new site eases pressure on the testing site at the county seat in Wheaton, where 600 COVID tests are being administered in the first hour of each day.
"We need more testing, but we also need people to use those prevention measures, you know and not gather, wear a mask, wash their hands, watch their distance," Calvillo said. "The holidays are approaching. We know that people are having to make difficult decisions."
As they wait the 2-3 hours to get through, many patients see a negative test as lightening anxiety.
"I had researched Walgreens and CVS, they were all booked," said Antonio Washington, who lives in Chicago but works nearby. "Even my primary care physician didn't have any appointments until December. But this was right after work and I was able to do it, so I am glad."
Anyone can be tested, and no appointment, doctor referral or insurance is required. Visitors are encouraged to pre-register at testdirectly.com, but pre-registration does not guarantee testing or a place in line for that day. For more information about how to prepare before your visit and what to expect, visit www.dupagehealth.org/covid19testing.
State-run testing sites will be closed on Thanksgiving.