With the state of Illinois setting new records for patients hospitalized with COVID-19, there has been some pushback on just how those hospitalizations are defined.
As of Tuesday, there were 7,353 patients in Illinois hospitals that have tested positive for COVID. Of those, 1,152 are currently in intensive care units, according to the state Department of Public Health.
While the state of Illinois does not differentiate between people who are hospitalized specifically because of COVID from those who test positive for COVID while receiving care for another illness, Dr. Allison Arwady says that the distinction doesn’t change the fact that COVID causes the same issues for health care professionals whether or not it was the cause of someone’s admission to a hospital.
“If somebody has COVID and they are in the hospital, they are taking up the same hospital bed, they are requiring the same PPE and infection control and extra care, extra nursing support, etc. So when somebody is in the hospital with or for COVID, they have the same extra burden.”
Arwady said that the number of patients who have COVID but are being hospitalized for something else do not represent “the majority” of hospitalization numbers.
“I wish it were, (but) that is not what is driving our hospitalization numbers,” she said.
Hospitalizations in Chicago are still up, with an average of 189 new admissions per day in the city. That is up 32% from last week, and remains the highest-level the city has seen during the pandemic.
While hospital admissions have slowed in recent days, officials are still calling on residents to get vaccinated and boosted, and to wear masks while in indoor public places.
Arwady says that she will address the way that hospitalization metrics are tabulated in a Facebook Live event on Thursday.