southern Illinois

For 2nd Day in a Row, Southern Illinois Health Care Region Has Zero Available ICU Beds Amid COVID Surge

NBCUniversal Media, LLC

For the second day in a row, one of Illinois’ health care regions has zero available intensive care unit beds amid a surge in COVID cases and hospitalizations.

According to the latest figures from the Illinois Department of Public Health, Region 5, comprised of 20 counties in the southern tip of the state, has zero of its 87 staffed ICU beds available for admission as of Wednesday.

The region has seen its ICU bed availability remain below 10% for more than a month, and hospitalizations have remained elevated even after a steady upward trend in those numbers began to level off at the beginning of September.

Prior to that, hospitalizations had increased dramatically in the month of August, reaching a peak of 164 on Sept. 1. As of Tuesday, that number has dipped slightly to 159, but remains far above where it was during the downturn of hospitalizations that occurred after the COVID vaccine became more widely available in the spring.

The region’s positivity rate has also remained persistently high, having been above 10% since mid-August. The number remains the highest in the state, sitting at 10.2% as of Sunday.

ICU bed availability has been an issue throughout the state during a recent upswing in COVID cases, with all 11 of the state’s health care regions seeing less than 25% availability of ICU beds.

Overall, 537 COVID patients are currently in intensive care units across the state, taking up approximately 17.2% of the state’s ICU beds overall, according to IDPH data. Of those patients, 305 are currently on ventilators.

Overall, hospitalizations are on a downward trajectory, with 2,229 patients currently hospitalized because of COVID in the state. That is down more than 100 from the 2,333 that were hospitalized on Sept. 6, indicating that hospitalizations may be leveling off amid the pandemic.

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