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40% of ICU beds in Illinois occupied by coronavirus patients; 59 additional deaths reported

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker and state officials speak at a press conference in Chicago on April 20, 2020. | Photo: Illinois Information Service.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said that the number of coronavirus patients hospitalized has increased but the number of them in the ICU has decreased.

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) announced Monday 1,151 new coronavirus cases and 59 related deaths. The state’s COVID-19 total has reached 31,508 cases and 1,349 deaths. The number of people tested so far is at 148,358, data shows.

4,599 people in Illinois were hospitalized as of Sunday with either a confirmed or presumed case of coronavirus, which is a 7% increase from five days prior, Pritzker said at his daily press conference.

Projections in mid-March showed that the state would have exceeded its existing hospital capacity by 25,000 beds on April 6 if the stay-at-home order had not been put in place, Pritzker said.

43% of ICU beds in the state were occupied by coronavirus patients on April 6 and that number decreased to 40% on Sunday after hospitals increased bed capacity.

The number of ventilators being used also decreased from 29% on April 6 to 23% on Sunday.

Pritzker said that more testing is needed. “On the testing front, I would ask you this question: What would make you feel comfortable going back into your place of work?”

“I would suggest to you that no, we don’t need to test everybody every day in every workplace, but it’s a lot more than one test per person. We need a lot more testing across the country before I think everybody’s gonna feel comfortable,” Pritzker said.

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Pritzker said his administration continues to evaluate the stay-at-home order and when Illinois will reopen. He said on Monday that he is looking at ways to reopen the state and that it could look different across Illinois.

“I want people to get back to work. I want people to go back to school. And I want us to have a great summer. And so I’m looking for all the best ways to make that happen. But we’re in the middle of an emergency, a pandemic, it’s like nothing we’ve ever seen,” Pritzker said on Sunday.

Pritzker also said that an airlift of personal protection equipment arrived in Illinois on Monday.

IDPH Director Ngozi Ezike said that as the state increases testing, there will be more positive cases reported. Respondents to a recently survey by the state show that 69% of them who tested positive for COVID-19 had recovered 28 days later.

Ezike said on Saturday that case growth is slowing even though the numbers continue to climb.

“That is definitely a good thing. But we must continue to be strong and hold the line. I know people are getting tired of hearing the same message, but the same tactics continue to apply,” she said, adding that people should continue to stay home, wash their hands and wear a mask.


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