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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — There was just one available intensive care bed in a Southern Illinois region that covers nearly 20 counties Monday for the second day in a row. 

While the situation isn’t as dire in other parts of the state, the City of Chicago and Northwest Illinois now also have less than 20% of their intensive care unit beds available, a key threshold classified as a “warning level” by the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Gov. JB Pritzker said Tuesday state health officials are closely monitoring the availability of hospital resources and will consider reimposing COVID-19-related restrictions if the numbers don’t improve.  

“If hospitals continue to fill, if hospital beds and ICU’s get full like they are in Kentucky – that’s just next door to Illinois – if that happens we’re going to have to impose significantly greater mitigations,” Pritzker said. 

Far Southern Illinois has significantly lower vaccination rates than other parts of the state. Just 16% of Alexander County residents are fully vaccinated. The vaccination rates of nearby counties fluctuate between 20% and 41%. Statewide, 59% of eligible Illinois residents are fully vaccinated. 

On Tuesday, 2,989 new cases were announced, along with 15 deaths.

The number of COVID-19 patients requiring treatment in intensive care has reached an 8-month peak. 525 COVID-19 patients are currently in intensive care in Illinois, the highest since January 30; but it’s still less than half the number of COVID-19 patients who required ICU treatment in late November. COVID-19 patients currently account for 20% of patients in ICU and 9% of overall hospitalizations statewide.  

In Chicago, 84% of ICU beds are currently occupied. 88% of ICU beds are occupied in the region that encompasses the northwest corner of Illinois, including Rockford and Dixon.

Gov. Pritzker said he hopes a combination of increased vaccinations and masking will help Illinois avoid new restrictions.  

“We’re consistently looking at the menu of options that we may need to impose in order to bring down the numbers,” Pritzker said.

However, Illinois is now averaging 23,821 vaccine doses administered per day, down after a brief surge earlier this month to an average of more than 40,000 daily doses.