Only 8 ICU beds available in Kankakee, Will counties as hospitalizations spike in Illinois
CHICAGO (WLS) -- Illinois public health officials reported 8,700 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 and 14 related deaths Monday.
Another 6,374 cases and 36 deaths were reported Saturday, and 4,036 case with an additional 35 deaths on Sunday, according to health officials.
There have been 1,854,186 total COVID cases, including 26,620 deaths in the state since the pandemic began.
The seven-day statewide test positivity rate is 5.4%. The seven-day rolling case average is 7,146, marking the highest it's been since December 2020.
As of Sunday night, 2,842 patients in Illinois were reported to be in the hospital with COVID-19. Of those, 579 patients were in the ICU and 256 patients with COVID-19 were on ventilators.
This is the highest number of COVID patients hospitalized in Illinois since January 29, and the most in ICU beds since January 26.
As COVID-related hospitalizations spike across the state, there were only 8 ICU beds available in Will, Kankakee counties on Friday.
The positivity rate in Region 7, which includes Will and Kankakee counties, is 8.5%, the highest it's been since last winter and well above the state average.
"The vast majority of new cases are the delta variant," said Matt Bedore of the Will County Health Department. "In Will County, and really across the country."
The number of hospitalized COVID patients in Illinois has risen 85% in the past month. Silver Cross Hospital is treating 52 COVID patients right now, the most since last winter. Nine are in the ICU and eight of those are on ventilators.
Across the region ICU beds are scarce; only eight total are available in Will and Kankakee counties, well below 10% of the ICU beds available. Lake and McHenry counties are below the 20% warning level for ICU beds, and the number of available beds is even lower in Kane and DuPage counties, and the city of Chicago.
A number of state health officials attribute the increase at this time partly to Thanksgiving gatherings, and are concerned about the likely appearance of the omicron variant any day.
"Until we have more data, we just ask people to engage in behavior we know will mitigate the spread of the virus," Bedore said.
That includes social distancing, masks, vaccination and getting boosters. In both Will and Kankakee counties, the vaccination rate is below the state average.
IDPH released a statement Friday, saying, "Illinois' 7-day rolling average for both cases and deaths are increasing, and over the past month, the daily number of people in the hospital with COVID-19 has risen from about 1,300 people to more than 2,400. While we continue to watch for Omicron and sequence specimens for the variant, 99% of cases in Illinois are Delta. The vaccines remain effective against hospitalization and death due to Delta and we urge everyone 5 years and older to be vaccinated and everyone 18 years and older to get a booster when it's time. Masking, distancing, testing, and avoiding crowds can help reduce spread and offer protection against COVID-19, including Omicron."
Within the past 24 hours, laboratories have reported testing 148,257 new specimens for a total of 40,063,543since the pandemic began.
Local health officials expect the omicron variant to inevitably show up in the state, but Governor JB Pritzker said Thursday there are currently no plans to impose any statewide restrictions.
"What we are watching are hospitalizations, and the seriousness of illness, as well as people going into hospitals and overall hospital capacity," he said.
Despite those dwindling hospital beds, ABC7 has not not heard of any medical centers in the Chicago area having to take measures, including canceling elective procedures.
The Biden Administration's winter plan for COVID includes free at-home rapid tests for eligible Americans, and 50 million free test kits for the uninsured or for people on Medicaid.
WATCH: Pres. Biden lays out winter COVID strategy
The president also urged everyone to get vaccinated and/or a booster. If you text 438829 you'll receive a list of pharmacies in your area where they are giving booster shots.
A total of 17,716,018 vaccine doses have been administered in Illinois as of Sunday, and 58.7% of the state's population is fully vaccinated. The seven-day rolling average of vaccines administered daily is 68,780.