CHICAGO (WLS) — Illinois public health officials reported 10,959 COVID-19 cases and 192 related deaths Thursday.
The Illinois Department of Public Health said some data reported to IDPH is delayed from the weekends, including this past holiday weekend, when reporting 238 deaths Wednesday.
“Higher case numbers and higher numbers of hospitalizations do lead to, tragically, even more lives lost,” Gov. JB Pritzker said.WATCH: Illinois doctor pleads for public’s help controlling COVID-19’s spread
The total number of cases in Illinois now stands at 759,562, with a total of 12,830 deaths.
Over a 24-hour period, officials said the state processed 106,778 specimens. In total there have been 10,806,364 specimens tested since the start of the pandemic in Illinois.
The preliminary seven-day statewide test positivity from Nov. 26 – Dec. 2 is 12.3%.
The test positivity rate is a metric the state began providing in late October. It is calculated by using the total number of positive tests over the total number of tests. This is the metric being used to by state health officials to make decisions about mitigations.
As of Wednesday night, 5,653 people in Illinois were reported to be hospitalized with COVID-19. Of those, 1,170 patients were in the ICU with COVID-19 and 693 patients with COVID-19 were on ventilators.
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Gov. JB Pritzker and Dr. Ngozi Ezeke honored frontline healthcare workers Wednesday as they marked the highest one-day total of COVID-19 fatalities since the pandemic started.
“To those 238 sets of families, friends and loved ones, as well as the thousands more who preceded them, I offer my sincerest and my deepest condolences,” Gov. Pritzker said. “This pandemic stole someone from your lives too soon.”
And there other concerning metrics ahead of what could be a post-Thanksgiving surge. Only 19% of the state’s ICU beds are available, below the 20% warning threshold.
The number of non-ICU beds is also at concerning levels in many of the collar counties, and even worse in some areas downstate.
“This recent spike in cases has put a strain on the number of available hospital beds, in particular ICU beds, which could impact the care of patients including those who have non-COVID like illnesses,” said Dr. Christopher Farrar, medical director at Anderson Hospital near St. Louis.
There is some good news, however. Officials say the average length of hospital stays is about two days shorter than it was during the spring.
“We do know that you have a much better chance of surviving COVID-19 in the hospital now as opposed to wave one,” Dr. Ezike said.
At Northwestern Memorial Hospital, teams have spent months gearing up for a new blitz of COVID-19 patients.
Dr. Benjamin Singer, a pulmonologist and critical care specialist at Northwestern said the hospital is also devoting more ICU beds to COVID-19 care.
“We are anticipating a continued surge of patients, and we feel well prepared,” he said. “The physicians, the nurses, the respiratory therapist, everyone that is needed to care for these patients … the ventilators the medications the personal protective equipment, making sure that all those supply lines are intact.”
But Northwestern still has room for those with other conditions, Singer said.
Other local hospitals, like Rush, are also bracing for an influx of patients.
“We’re starting to see the death rates creep up again to numbers that haven’t been seen in quite a while, and we will unfortunately probably surpass those numbers,” Singer said.
Gov. Pritzker also updated the state’s vaccine distribution plan, saying the state could receive its first doses in as early as two weeks with priority given to the hardest-hit counties.
WATCH: Who will be given first priority for COVID-19 vaccines in Illinois?
“We will be distributing vaccines proportionate to population across the state so that there’s no one that will get left behind as a result of being from a more rural area, for example, or a more urban area,” Gov. Pritzker said. “It’s really going to be divided up on population although there will be prioritization given up-front to counties that have had the highest per capita death rates.”
WATCH: Legal analyst Gil Soffer discusses upcoming COVID-19 vaccine
Days after millions traveled for Thanksgiving, state officials expressed support Wednesday for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s new guidance reducing the quarantine timeline from 14 days to 7 days with a negative test, and 10 days without a test. The goal is to increase compliance.
“There’s a phrase, I guess, don’t let perfect be the enemy of the good,” Dr. Ezike said. “If everybody does the 10 days, where they’re quarantining for those 10 days, we will get 90 to 99% of those infections. Would I like to get 100? Of course.”
WATCH: New CDC quarantine guidelines welcomed by Roseland hospital
Some hospital systems also expressing support for that shorter quarantine time because it will allow some healthcare workers to get back on the job sooner at time staffing is at premium.
For a safety net hospitals like the new Roseland Community Hospital, the CDC’s loosening of its quarantine guidelines was right on time.
“So we can bring those valuable employees doctors, nurses back to work,” explained Tim Egan, the new Roseland Community Hospital president & CEO. “It’s a big help.”
Still plagued with staffing issues despite adding more professionals, having to sideline medical staff exposed to COVID-19-infected people put a strain on the South Side facility’s ability to care for their patients.
“A lot of nurses and respiratory therapists and doctors are getting exposed because we are overrun with this COVID surge,” said Dr. Victoria Brander, COVID-19 preparedness director at Roseland Hospital.
The CDC issued new guidelines reducing the number of days of quarantine from 14 to 7-10 days following exposure to a COVID-19 positive person.
If exposed to COVID-19, an individual can end quarantine after seven days if they receive a negative test result, or must remain isolated for 10 days without getting tested.
“The data is actually pretty good,” Dr. Brander said. “The data comes from the Centers for Disease Control internal data as well as a very large study published just recently in ‘The Lancet,’ which is the premiere British medical journal where they followed thousands of people.”
The new guidance also calls for testing of silent spread or those who are infected but don’t have symptoms, including essential workers, educators, shift workers and some students.
Roseland Hospital officials say they’ve performed over 20,000 COVID-19 tests since April and hope these new rules along with a vaccine will help defeat the virus.
“It helps us manage that frontline that is so critical, treating this dastardly virus that guideline is helping us in this battle for sure,” Egan said.
The deaths reported Thursday include:
– Adams County: 1 male 70s
– Bond County: 1 female 70s
– Bureau County: 1 male 60, 2 females 80s, 1 male 80s, 1 female 90s, 1 male 90s
– Carroll County: 1 male 70s, 1 male 80s
– Clinton County: 1 female 80s
– Coles County: 1 male 70s
– Cook County: 1 male 20s, 2 males 30s, 1 male 40s, 1 female 50s, 1 male 50s, 2 females 60s, 1 male 60s, 10 females 70s, 5 males 70s, 3 females 80s, 2 males 80s, 11 females 90s, 2 males 90, 2 females over 100, 2 males over 100
– Cumberland County: 1 male 60s
– DeKalb County: 1 female 70s
– Douglas County: 1 female 90s, 1 male 90s
– DuPage County: 4 females 70s, 2 males 70s, 2 females 80s, 3 males 80s, 3 females 90s, 1 male 90s
– Effingham County: 1 male 70s, 1 male 80s, 1 female 90s, 1 female over 100
– Fayette County: 1 male 50s
– Fulton County: 1 male 80s
– Hancock County: 1 male 80s
– Henry County: 1 male 60s, 2 males 70s
– Iroquois County: 1 female 70s, 1 male 80s, 1 female 90s, 1 male 90s
– Johnson County: 1 female 70s
– Kane County: 1 female 60s, 3 males 70s, 1 male 80s
– Kankakee County: 1 female 60s, 1 male 70s, 1 female 80s, 1 female 90s
– Kendall County: 1 female 80s
– Knox County: 1 female 90s
– Lake County: 1 female 40s, 1 female 80s, 3 males 80s
– Lawrence County: 1 female 80s
– Lee County: 1 male 80s
– Livingston County: 1 female 80s
– Logan County: 1 female 70s, 1 female 80s, 1 male 80s, 1 female 90s
– Macon County: 1 male 80s
– Macoupin County: 1 female 80s, 1 female 90s
– Madison County: 1 male 50s, 3 males 70s, 1 female 80s
– Marion County: 1 male 30s, 1 male 70s, 1 male 80s
– Mason County: 1 female 80s
– Massac County: 1 female 90s
– McHenry County: 1 female 80s
– Morgan County: 1 male 40s, 3 males 70s, 1 female 90s, 2 males 90s
– Ogle County: 1 male 70s, 1 female 80s
– Peoria County: 1 female 60s, 1 male 80s
– Perry County: 1 female 60s, 1 female 80s
– Pike County: 1 male 60s
– Rock Island County: 1 female 50s, 1 male 70s, 2 males 80s
– Saline County: 1 male 60s
– Sangamon County: 1 male 70s, 1 female 80s
– St. Clair County: 2 males 60s, 2 males 80s
– Stark County: 1 male 70s
– Tazewell County: 1 female 50s, 1 male 50s, 1 male 80s, 1 male 90s
– Vermilion County: 1 male 60s, 1 male 70s, 1 female 90s
– Whiteside County: 1 female 60s, 2 males 60s, 1 female 70s, 1 female 80s, 1 male 80s, 1 male 90s
– Will County: 1 female 60s, 2 males 60s, 2 males 70s, 1 male 80s, 2 females 90s, 2 males 90s, 1 female over 100
– Williamson County: 1 male 70s, 3 females 80s, 1 female 90s
– Winnebago County: 2 males 50s, 2 females 70s, 2 males 70s, 1 male 80s
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