CHICAGO, Ill. (KFVS) - Governor JB Pritzker gave an update on the state’s response at 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 24.
“We’re using a two-pronged approach to make sure a worst-case scenario does not become our reality,” he said. “First, we put in place protective measures to suppress the spread, like our stay at home order, limits on gatherings and social distancing guidelines. Second, we are working to increase our health care capacity statewide so that when we do arrive at our next phase, which should not be our worst-case scenario but will be a point where hospitalizations significantly increase, we have the capacity to meet that need.”
The state managed labs have expanded to run 600 tests a day in three locations.
The Illinois National Guard also opened the state’s first drive-thru COVID-19 testing site on the northwest side of Chicago, adding 250 testing tests a day.
In addition, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services opened three sites with their private partners throughout the Chicago suburbs, one in Cook County and two in Will County. Each has the capacity to run nearly 100 tests a day, and up to 250 with expanded staffing.
Lastly there are four commercial labs and 15 hospital labs operating across the state, which average about 1,500 tests per day.
The governor said hospitals across the state are meeting the current need, and the state is building additional capacity to treat patients that may need care in the future.
As of March 23, information reported to IDPH showed 12,588 non-ICU beds; 1,106 ICU beds and 1,595 ventilators available in hospitals across Illinois.
Looking ahead, IDPH made projections for what will be needed to meet a surge of demand:
- March 30 - IDPH projected that hospitals across the state would need an additional 2,511 non-ICU beds, 837 ICU beds and 419 ventilators compared to current capacity if the state took no action to combat the virus
- April 6 - IDPH projected that hospitals would need an additional 28,222 non-ICU beds, 9,407 ICU beds and 4,704 ventilators compared to current capacity without any protective measures
In addition to previous protective measures - such as the stay at home order, ban on gatherings exceeding 10 people, school closures and social distancing guidelines - the governor has taken several steps to increase the capacity of the health care system:
- Triage centers: The Illinois Emergency Management Agency has deployed 49 tents to area hospitals to set up triage centers outside their facilities to evaluate potential COVID-19 patients. In total, 66 of the state’s over 200 hospitals are currently operating with this expanded capacity. IEMA is working with 26 additional hospitals across the state to open new triage centers.
- Repurposing old hospitals: IDPH, IEMA, the Illinois National Guard and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are investigating closed hospitals that could temporarily reopen to support our COVID-19 response. In a worst-case scenario surge, the State would dedicate several dozen existing hospitals almost entirely to COVID-19 patients, moving non-COVID patients to other hospitals, including these re-outfitted locations.
- Expanding capacity in existing hospitals by acquiring critical equipment: The administration continues to scour the globe for essential medical equipment like ventilators, including working with scientists and experts in Illinois and beyond to pursue innovative options. The Governor also spoke with President Trump yesterday and informed him that Illinois needs millions of N95 masks and hundreds of ventilators. The President promised assistance, and yesterday afternoon, the White House notified IDPH that Illinois will be receiving 300 ventilators and 300,000 N95 masks from FEMA in the coming days.
As of Tuesday afternoon, March 24, there are 1,535 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 16 deaths linked to the virus in Illinois.
The Illinois Department of Public Health announced 250 new cases of COVID-19 in the state, including four new deaths; a Chicago resident in his 50s, two Cook County residents both in their 60s and a DuPage County resident in her 90s.
Cases by county can be found on the IDPH website along other resources on COVID-19.
For all personal protective equipment donations, you can email PPE.email@example.com.