Demand for hospital beds, ventilators in Illinois increase during COVID-19 pandemic

The latest hospital capacity numbers from the Illinois Department of Public Health show the number of beds increasing, but so is the need for those beds.

Illinois public health officials are working to determine not just the number of COVID-19 cases, but also how many people who tested positive have since recovered.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker has been holding daily news conferences with updates on the number of new cases and COVID-19-related deaths. On Tuesday, before the governor’s afternoon news conference, there were 5,057 positive cases out of 30,446 tests. There were 73 deaths reported.

The number of hospital beds has not been updated during the governor’s daily briefings. But the Illinois Department of Public Health is tracking those numbers.

There were 27,465 total non-intensive care unit beds Monday, according to IDPH. That number increased to 28,005 Tuesday, the day after Pritzker announced an additional 500 beds being readied at McCormick Place in Chicago. Of the total beds, 16,202 were occupied. That’s an occupancy rate of 58 percent. That’s up from 55 percent on Monday.

For ICU beds, there has also been an increase in the total number of available beds. On Monday, the number was 2,578 in total. On Tuesday, there was 2,654 total, of which 1,743 were occupied, a rate of 65.7 percent. That’s up from 59 percent Monday.

Tuesday also saw an update of ventilator numbers. There are now 2,568 ventilators. That’s up from Monday’s total of 2,460. President Donald Trump said Monday that Illinois would get 150 ventilators this week. Of the new total, 1,276 were being used, a rate of 49.7 percent. That’s up from 32 percent reported Monday.

Tuesday’s updated numbers from IDPH also included the total number of isolation rooms. There was 1,574 total with 841 available. Another new number provided by IDPH was the number of available medical-surgical beds. That total was 13,863, of which 5,474 were available.

Asked if the department was tracking the numbers of hospitalized COVID-19 patients versus those being treated at home or those who have since recovered, officials said it was a “very fluid situation” and the department was “working on compiling data to help further answer those questions.”

A study put out by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation includes a breakdown of projections for each state.

For Illinois, the IHME study projects that by April 16, Illinois could need 8,654 hospital beds, 1,325 ICU beds, and 1,060 ventilators to handle a surge of COVID-19 patients.

That study projects the death rate to peak April 16 through April 19 with 88 dead from the disease daily. The total number of possible deaths in Illinois from COVID-19 that IHME projects is 2,326.

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