CHICAGO (WLS) — Gov. J.B. Pritzker is urging Illinois hospital leaders to delay elective surgeries and other non-emergency procedures to keep more beds open for another expected wave of COVID-19 patients as the state weathers its largest case surge of the pandemic.

This, as Illinois public health officials reported 24,423 new COVID-19 cases and 79 related deaths Tuesday.

“We’re asking our residents to temporarily hold off on important medical care like tonsillectomies, bariatric surgeries and hernia repair,” Pritzker said in a statement. “As we work to keep ICU beds open, I continue to applaud the efforts of our hospitals and health care workers across the state, who have been heroes for us all.”

There have been 2,263,166 total COVID cases, including 28,077 deaths in the state since the pandemic began.

SEE ALSO: Illinois using SMART health card with personal vaccine QR code to prove you’re vaccinated

The seven-day statewide test positivity rate is 17.6%.

Within the past 24 hours, laboratories have reported testing 125,819 new specimens for a total of 45,305,412 since the pandemic began.

WATCH: Gov. JB Pritzker addresses surging COVID cases, hospitalizations

As of Monday night, 6,600 patients in Illinois were reported to be in the hospital with COVID-19. Of those, 1,118 patients were in the ICU and 658 patients with COVID-19 were on ventilators.

Illinois Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said about 90% of the new hospital admissions are unvaccinated residents. About a quarter of eligible Illinoisans still haven’t gotten a shot.

Combined with a shortage of health care workers due to burnout after nearly two years and five major resurgences, Ezike said hospitals are being pushed to the brink.

“We want to make sure that there is a hospital bed available for anyone for any reason – cancer complications, appendicitis, stroke, heart attack, car crash, or COVID-19,” she said. “Please get vaccinated and get boosted, for all of us.”

While Omicron is causing more breakthrough cases, experts say all COVID-19 vaccines protect against severe cases that result in hospitalization or death.

“Hospitals cannot end this pandemic on their own. They need the continuing help and support of the public,” Illinois Health and Hospital Association CEO A.J. Wilhelmi said. “The best way to support your hospitals is to get vaccinated.”

A total of 19,357,296 vaccine doses have been administered in Illinois as of Sunday, and 60.71% of the state’s population is fully vaccinated. The seven-day rolling average of vaccines administered daily is 46,926.

The Sun-Times Media report contributed to this post.

Copyright © 2022 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.

Source: ABC7

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