March 24, 2020
At today’s press briefing, the Illinois Dept. of Public Health (IDPH) announced 250 new COVID-19 cases, for a total of 1,535 cases in 32 counties statewide. Four new deaths were reported for a total of 16 deaths. IDPH Director Ngozi Ezike, M.D., said thus far, 16% of COVID-19 cases in Illinois required hospitalization, with 4% requiring ICU admission. Approximately 92% of the deaths in Illinois are by those 60 years of age and older.
Governor J.B. Pritzker noted efforts to increase testing COVID-19 capacity in the state. In addition to the state labs, there are four commercial labs and 15 hospital labs processing COVID-19 test specimens. Currently about 1,500 tests are being processed daily in Illinois. He is looking to increase daily testing capacity by 2,800 by providing labs with equipment they need to process more tests.
Besides testing, the Governor said he is also focusing on COVID-19 treatment, saying the healthcare system needs to be able to take care of those who are ill. In a matter of 24 hours, 180 people have applied to rejoin the healthcare workforce after he loosened regulations to allow inactive or retired doctors, nurses and other select healthcare workers to temporarily practice.
Gov. Pritzker noted that his administration has been working with hospital leaders and the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) to increase healthcare capacity statewide. Thus far, 66 of the state’s 200 hospitals have set up triage tents with IEMA or on their own, and 26 hospitals are in the process of setting up triage tents. In addition, hospitals are retrofitting their buildings and off-site locations to increase bed capacity.
In his quest for more personal protective equipment (PPE) and supplies, the Governor said he has spoken to President Trump and he has committed to sending 300 ventilators and 300,000 N95 masks for the state.
Details on the Governor's measures to increase testing and hospital capacity are outlined in a press release.
Today, IHA released its COVID-19 Legal Resource, a compilation of federal, state and local issues and legal resources for members. It will be updated and distributed to members periodically.
In its latest health alert, the Chicago Dept. of Public Health provides guidance to city hospitals about disposition of COVID-19 persons under investigation and confirmed cases who are unstably housed or returning to homeless shelters and other high-risk settings. The alert also provides resources available to discharge planners.
See IHA’s COVID-19 webpage for a variety of resources in a central location.