UChicago Medicine ‘Holding Steady’ on ICU Capacity During COVID-19


Intensive care unit capacity at UChicago Medicine is “holding steady” during the coronavirus pandemic, according to an administrator. 

“It’s something we’re watching two to three times a day, to make sure we have enough for all the patients who need it,” said Emily Chase, UChicago Medicine’s chief nursing officer. “We’ve also increased our ICU capacity during this time … we’ve increased our ICU capacity by about 20 beds in our adult ICUs.” 

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Interactive: More from our series, COVID-19 Across Chicago.

Chase says because of its supply chain, UChicago Medicine is also in a “really good position” when it comes to personal protective equipment and other supplies. 

It’s also providing COVID-19 testing and personal protective equipment across Chicago’s South Side, through nursing home and other partners. 

“What we want to do is make sure that patients can get tested in the community, return home if they’re feeling well, and that way we hope they’ll be diagnosed sooner and be able to stay at home,” Chase said. 

For years, activists pushed for the University of Chicago to open a trauma center to treat gunshot victims on the South Side. That center eventually opened in 2018, and Chase says it has stayed operational during the pandemic and has even seen an uptick in cases over the last month. 

“Actually we’ve had a busier month of April than we’ve had in the past, as far as trauma. But we’ve continued to serve all of those patients that have needed us,” Chase said. “And that’s a delicate balance, with our ICU capacity that we need for both COVID and trauma, as well as some of the medically life-threatening surgeries that we’re continuing to do here at the medical center.” 


Covid Across Chicago

How is the novel coronavirus impacting local businesses, residents and social service agencies across the city and region? And how are local leaders handling the crisis? We hit the streets to answer those questions and more in our ongoing reporting series, COVID-19 Across Chicago. See where we’ve been and what we’ve discovered in this overview.


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