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Hospitals in southern Illinois are facing a critical shortage of available ICU beds. (WTTW News)

Hospitals in parts of the state are facing a critical shortage of available beds in their intensive care units. The highly contagious delta variant of COVID-19, combined with low vaccination rates, has created an overwhelming situation for medical providers for the last month.

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Jodie Ford, an ICU nurse, moves electrical cords for medical machines, outside the room of a patient suffering from COVID-19, in an intensive care unit at the Willis-Knighton Medical Center in Shreveport, La., Tuesday, Aug. 17, 2021. (AP Photo / Gerald Herbert)

The latest surge in coronavirus cases is overwhelming many intensive care units, causing hospitals and states to run out of ICU beds in some locations. A maxed-out ICU can become a staffing and logistical nightmare.

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A rendering of the redevelopment set for the former Michael Reese Hospital site in Bronzeville on the city’s South Side. (Courtesy of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill)

The site of the long-defunct hospital is poised to be transformed into a new Chicago neighborhood offering 4,800 homes, plus offices, research facilities and stores as part of a $4 billion redevelopment. “This has been a long time coming,” said Ald. Sophia King.

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Earlier this year, the Chicago Plan Commission approved a $3.8 billion effort to overhaul the former Michael Reese Hospital site in Bronzeville on the city’s South Side. (Rendering courtesy of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill)

The Chicago Plan Commission approved a $3.8 billion effort earlier this year to overhaul the former Michael Reese Hospital site in Bronzeville, just west of the lakefront on 31st Street. The team behind the development is thinking big and working toward community buy-in.

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Dr. Paul Casey or Rush University Medical Center. (WTTW News)
Health care workers have been front-row witnesses to tragedy, as they’ve seen patients get sick and die from COVID-19, but also hope, as they help patients recover. What does the future of that treatment look like? 
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(WTTW News)

This time last year, hospitals were bracing for the unknown as COVID-19 accelerated its spread across the U.S. We got an exclusive look inside Illinois’ largest private health system as hospital professionals reflect on a year unlike any other.

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Gottlieb Chapel (Courtesy Gottlieb Memorial Hospital)

Hospitals don’t just offer health care. Many offer care for the human spirit as well as the human body. We talk with a chaplain at Gottlieb Memorial Hospital in Melrose Park about the challenges of ministering to patients and families during a pandemic.

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(WTTW News)

Chicago and suburban Cook, Lake, Kane, McHenry and DuPage counties moved Monday from Tier 3 to Tier 2 after the Illinois Department of Public Health launched a new plan to add hospital staff and beds where the need is greatest.

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(David Mark / Pixabay)

Success rates for organ transplantation have grown through the years, but disparities impacting communities of color remain. A Northwestern Medicine transplant surgeon is providing care curated specifically for the Latino community.

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(WTTW News)

South Side residents have reason to hope that Mercy Hospital could yet be saved from closure. We speak with three people who are fighting to keep the city’s oldest hospital open.

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Sandra Lindsay, left, a nurse at Long Island Jewish Medical Center, is inoculated with the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine by Dr. Michelle Chester, Monday, Dec. 14, 2020, in the Queens borough of New York. (AP Photo / Mark Lennihan, Pool)

The biggest vaccination campaign in U.S. history kicked off Monday as health workers rolled up their sleeves for shots to protect them from COVID-19 and start beating back the pandemic — a day of optimism even as the nation’s death toll closed in on 300,000.

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In this Dec. 8, 2020, file photo, a health care worker wears personal protective equipment as she speaks to a patient at a mobile testing location for COVID-19 in Auburn, Maine. (AP Photo / Robert F. Bukaty, File)

Doctors and nurses around the U.S. are becoming exhausted and demoralized as they struggle to cope with a record-breaking surge of COVID-19 patients that is overwhelming hospitals and prompting governors to clamp back down to contain the virus.

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Hayley Orlinsky poses for a portrait Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2020, with several colorful rubber band bracelets she makes in her Chicago home. (AP Photo / Charles Rex Arbogast)

Hayley Orlinsky has spent most of the coronavirus pandemic crafting colorful bracelets as a fundraiser to buy personal protective equipment for a children’s hospital. So far, the endeavor has generated nearly $20,000.

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(WTTW News)

Medical professionals in Chicago and across the country are braced for a fresh surge of coronavirus cases after millions of Americans ignored advice not to travel or gather over the Thanksgiving holiday. Dr. Emily Landon, an infectious disease specialist at UChicago Medicine, weighs in.

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(rawpixel / Pixabay)

According to the latest data from state health officials, the city of Chicago has 921 intensive care unit beds, and more than 200 are currently available. But in some regions, the numbers are much different. 

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(WTTW News)

The growing number of coronavirus infections has some area hospitals on edge. We visit the Illinois Medical District to see how hospitals are coping with the surge — and how they’re prepping for more cases.