Illinois COVID-19 positivity rate rises but hospitalizations remain flat, Chicago hospitals say

Sarah Schulte Image
Saturday, July 25, 2020
As Illijnois' COVID-19 positivity rate rises, hospitalizations remain flat
Illinois is seeing more cases of COVID-19, and in the last week the positivity rate has risen to 3.4%, but hospitalizations have remained flat.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The Illinois positivity rate for COVID-19 has risen in the last week to 3.4%, but the number of people sent to hospitals remains flat.

"We have not seen those patients come into the hospital, we haven't seen the numbers of admissions come in now as we did March and April," said Dr. John Coleman, Pulmonary/Critical Care at Northwestern Medicine.

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Northwestern Hospital saw its highest hospitalization rates at the end of April, with 70 patients in the COVID-19 intensive care unit. Now, it's down to 10.

Rush University Medical Center's rates have decreased to the point where the hospital is easing visitor restrictions, and UIC Hospital, as of Thursday, did not have one COVID-19 patient on a ventilator.

"I do think we have learned things along the way. We know who it at risk and trying to make sure those people are protected," said Dr. Susan Bleasdale, director of infection prevention and control at UI Health.

With more younger people testing positive, their symptoms tend to be less severe, which may also contribute to the flat hospitalization rates. But doctors said that can easily change.

"I do worry as we see the positivity rates increase, we usually see those people show up downstream," Coleman said.

The medical community is also concerned about an increase of hospitalizations during the upcoming flu seasons. Doctors warn you can get both COVID-19 and the flu.

But doctors do hope that between the a flu vaccine and people continuing to practice COVID-19 protocols like physical distancing and wearing face masks, which help prevent the spread of all viruses, not just COVID-19, will keep flu cases down and, in turn, help free up beds for COVID-19 patients if needed.