CHICAGO (CBS) — Hospitalizations from COVID-19 have doubled in Illinois over the past three weeks, putting a new round of stress on the healthcare system.
CBS 2’s Jeremy Ross takes a closer look at what the coronavirus numbers mean for hospitals.
Hospitalizations continue to rise statewide, with one doctor calling this a new round of crisis for patients and hospital staff.
“The numbers we have now are much higher than the numbers we had back in the spring, and with the numbers, as they’re climbing, the cases we can only expect for the near term that these are going to continue to go up,” said Dr. Ernest Wang, chief of emergency medicine at NorthShore University HealthSystem. “I’m very worried. The whole health system is worried. Patients are coming in more frequent and sicker, and it’s not slowing down. So we just have to continue to try and manage the patients. We have not enough staff sometimes to staff the beds we have.”
Wang oversees five hospitals, including in Evanston and Highland Park. He said they are not turning away patients who come in for other emergency care, like car crashes or heart troubles, but COVID-19 is stressing their staffing to the breaking point.
The state of Illinois reported more than 6,100 coronavirus patients in hospitals with COVID-19 as of Friday night, more than double only three weeks ago.
Over the past two weeks, there’s been a 62% increase of the sickest patients with the virus on ventilators.
Wang said the bulk of his patients aren’t in that most critical group yet, but “the number of people requiring oxygen is astounding, and though not quite ICU, but certainly not well enough to send home, is a big proportion of the patients we are seeing.”
The current numbers are scary enough, but Wang is just bracing for what comes after Thanksgiving.
“Absolutely, but we’re going to be here. We’re going to be here,” he said.
Wang said he’s extremely concerned that the upcoming holiday will double as a super-spreader event for the virus.
He said one of the best ways for people to avoid hospitalization is to simply wear a mask around other people. Doing so can help keep you healthy, and lessen the burden on healthcare workers.
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Source: CBS Chicago