As the holidays approach and COVID cases rise across Illinois, data from the Illinois Department of Public Health shows hospitals statewide are nearing an 83% ICU bed capacity.
More than 180 of those patients in ICU beds are COVID patients.
Dr. Sameer Vohra, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, said he expects bed availability to decrease even more as the holidays approach and what some are calling a “triple threat” of viruses continues.
“It is a really challenging moment for our hospitals and our health care providers as well as community residents that are being exposed in this winter season to increasing hospitalizations across the state of Illinois,” Vohra said. “We’re fortunate now to see the numbers of RSV cases go down and that’s allowing some of our pediatric intensive care unit beds to open up … we’re seeing increases in flu admissions and what that is leading to is our adult hospital ICU beds down to only 17% because our adult citizens across Illinois are getting sicker and eating those hospital beds.”
Illinois reported 3,314 new COVID cases Tuesday, leading to about a 7% increase from last week.
Meanwhile, data shows RSV cases are on a steady decline and the virus could finally be peaking.
“We’re seeing a pretty strong decrease in RSV cases,” Vohra said. “I think that shows us that we’re fairly confident that we have reached a probable spike. It doesn’t mean that kids who aren’t exposed might still be at risk, but we’ve seen probably the highest levels. What we don’t know right now though is if there will be other childhood infections and illnesses such as the flu. We have a moment of hope and a real increase in our pediatric intensive care unit beds compared to last month.”
With the holidays approaching, Vohra said there’s multiple measures people can take to limit hospitalizations and transmission.
“If you haven’t gotten your COVID-19 bivalent booster or your flu shot, now is the best time to get that vaccine which will really allow your immune system to have the protection that it needs to prevent those severe hospitalizations and sort of the worst outcomes from COVID-19 and flu … Make sure that you enhance ventilation in any way possible,” he said. “Whether tha’s sort of cracking open a window or using that HEPA filter that you might have purchased during the pandemic. Good hand washing and hand hygiene is always important.”