Parts of southern Illinois are continuing to see increases in COVID test positivity and hospitalization rates, with one region having just seven intensive care unit beds available to help treat an influx of coronavirus patients.
According to the latest data released by the Illinois Department of Public Health, Region 5, comprised of 20 of Illinois’ 102 counties and located in the southern tip of the state, has just seven, or 8.3%, of its 84 ICU beds currently open.
The region is seeing the highest test positivity rate in the state, at 11% as of Monday and still rising, and has seen increases in COVID hospitalizations on nine of the last 10 days, according to IDPH data.
The ICU metric is still a slight improvement from a week ago, when the region was down to just one open ICU bed, but challenges remain ahead for the area as COVID cases and hospitalizations rise.
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Several other health care regions in central and southern Illinois are also feeling the squeeze. In Region 6, located in east-central Illinois and including cities like Champaign, Effingham and Watseka, the positivity rate has risen to 8.4%, and hospitalizations have increased nine of the last 10 days.
The region does have 25 ICU beds available, making up 17.5% of the total ICU beds in the region.
In Region 3, located in western Illinois in an area that includes Springfield, ICU bed availability has ticked upward in recent days, but still remains low, with 21, or 13.8%, of its beds available for critically ill patients.
One part of southern Illinois that is seeing progress is Region 4, located adjacent to St. Louis. The region’s positivity rate is decreasing, dropping to 8.1%, and its COVID hospitalization rates have either dropped or remained steady on seven of the last 10 days.
The region has 21 of its 109 ICU beds available, according to IDPH data.
These metrics come as the state continues to cope with its worst COVID numbers since the beginning of the year. Wednesday saw the state record 5,178 new confirmed and probable cases of coronavirus, its highest single-day increase since Jan. 22, and 4,224 more cases were reported on Thursday.
The state currently has 2,254 hospitalized COVID patients, the most reported in a day since early February, and 537 of those patients are in ICU beds, also a high watermark since February.