South suburban doctor describes dire state of ICU capacity due to COVID-19

Coronavirus

WILL COUNTY, Ill. – A south suburban doctor said she is extremely worried about nearly full intensive care units in Will and Kankakee counties.

The warning comes as health officials and state leaders are critically concerned about hospital bed space in Illinois amid a massive surge in COVID-19 cases fueled by the omicron variant.

“It has waxed and waned but it has not been this dire for such a prolonged period of time in a very long time,” said Dr. Kalish Hill, Regional CMO for AMITA Health.

Right now in the state, there are around 6,600 people hospitalized with the virus. Of those, 1,118 are in the ICU. Across the state, 42% of ICU patients have COVID-19.

In Kankakee and Will counties, the situation is one of the most desperate in the state – with around 98% of ICU beds full.

Amid the pandemic, the region has never dipped this low on ICU space.

“With our low vaccination rates we did give them a window and the variants were allowed to proliferate and spread through our communities,” Dr. Hill said.

Only 47% of Kankakee County residents are fully-vaccinated, one of the lowest rates in the area. Will County is at 62%.

Dr. Hill said they are now scrambling for bed space with little help from surrounding areas.

“Unfortunately many regions are experiencing the same thing so there’s really not an opportunity to transfer to other hospitals,” Dr. Hill said.

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