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Republican state Senator says state mitigations should be based on hospitalizations, not positivity rates

Tuesday, Oct 20, 2020

* Illinois Radio Network

Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced new restrictions Monday for a region of southern Illinois and raised concerns about the spread of COVID-19 across the state.

Pritzker said Region 5, which includes Carbondale, Marion, and Harrisburg, had reported a 7-day positivity rate of 8% or more for 3 straight days. The region will have additional restrictions put into place on Thursday, including a ban on indoor service at bars and restaurants. Gatherings of more than 25 people also are restricted. […]

State Sen. Paul Schimpf, who represents a part of Region 5, said the governor is putting too much emphasis on positivity rates.

“I think it really is the wrong metric to be using when we are making a decision on whether or not to close businesses that are already struggling,” he said.

* So, I followed up and asked Sen. Schimpf (R-Waterloo) what metric the governor should be using…

I continue to be frustrated by Governor Pritzker’s misguided focus on an arbitrary positivity rate threshold that is neither meaningful nor reliable as an assessment of the actual local situation. These mitigations, which will close businesses and destroy livelihoods, should only be used when the hospitalization rates and ICU bed capacity data clearly show that it is absolutely necessary.

* And then I asked for a react from Jordan Abudayyeh…

Waiting for hospitalization rates to increase means there is more serious illness spreading, long term health consequences and unnecessary death. The Governor is committed to keeping people health and safe.

The resurgence mitigation plan put in place by the state does rely on both positivity rates and hospitalization rates. But, when a region’s positivity rate reaches 8 percent the region automatically triggers increased mitigations because that high of a positivity rate can quickly lead to uncontrolled spread without additional mitigation in place. We also know that hospitalization rates are a lagging indicator and often increase in the days and weeks after increased positivity rates are identified.

Right now, hospitalization rates are trending upward across the state. Waiting until hospitalization rates “clearly show that it is absolutely necessary” is not a measurable metric.

Thoughts?

* Related…

* COVID-19 ‘Long-Haulers’: Symptoms Persist for Some Patients

- Posted by Rich Miller        

31 Comments
  1. - NIU Grad - Tuesday, Oct 20, 20 @ 2:18 pm:

    I think a clear lesson-learned at the beginning of this pandemic is that if the hospitalization rate is spiking, it’s too late to slow it down with mitigation. Sen. Schimpf would risk having overfilled hospitals than have individuals/businesses take initial precautions to avoid getting to that point.


  2. - Dotnonymous - Tuesday, Oct 20, 20 @ 2:18 pm:

    220,000 dead… is the only relevant metric.


  3. - midway gardens - Tuesday, Oct 20, 20 @ 2:21 pm:

    A phrase about horses and barn doors comes to mind


  4. - illinifan - Tuesday, Oct 20, 20 @ 2:25 pm:

    Confirms why Schimpf should leave the recommendations to the experts. FYI Schimpt will notice the hospital numbers are up and have been rising consistently. Like ‘midway gardens’ said.


  5. - Huh? - Tuesday, Oct 20, 20 @ 2:27 pm:

    Hospitalizations is a trailing metric. positivity rate is a leading metric.

    Suppose the hospitalization rate could be set low to trigger the mitigations.


  6. - TheInvisibleMan - Tuesday, Oct 20, 20 @ 2:28 pm:

    If you wait to change your oil until the light on your dashboard comes on, it’s too late.

    Instead, for best results you change your oil at the recommended miles driven before the light comes on.

    Sorry, but republicans as a brand have lost the ability of moral leadership on anything remotely related to science. I have no concern for what this guy thinks should be done so he can protect his favorite bar.


  7. - 1st Ward - Tuesday, Oct 20, 20 @ 2:32 pm:

    Positive cases could be weighted by age in factoring into a positivity rate. We know people 60 year old. Maybe a premium on positives for certain age groups and a discount for under certain ages. Find a data scientist and statistician that can figure this out.


  8. - walker - Tuesday, Oct 20, 20 @ 2:34 pm:

    Positivity increases lead to hospitalization increases — unless the populations are somehow “special.”

    Or is that too obvious to be noted?

    Traveling back and forth to more open neighboring states, leads to infecting your family and community. Thanks.


  9. - Chicago Cynic - Tuesday, Oct 20, 20 @ 2:37 pm:

    This is not complicated. Cases lead to hospitalizations which leads to ICU which leads to death. If we wait until deaths rise, you guarantee more illness and death. It’s that simple.


  10. - Flying Elvis'-Utah Chapter - Tuesday, Oct 20, 20 @ 2:38 pm:

    Paul Schmipf-proving once again that math ain’t for everyone.


  11. - Candy Dogood - Tuesday, Oct 20, 20 @ 2:40 pm:

    Math concepts like exponential growth is something people can struggle with for their entire lives.

    The good Senator is cherry picking the statistic that lags the most behind the current conditions on the ground. He’s basically using a number that’s like looking back in time to 4 or 5 weeks ago.

    I was hoping for more courage out of a person that does not appear to be planning on holding public office again in the future.


  12. - Stig - Tuesday, Oct 20, 20 @ 2:42 pm:

    Hospital utilization is the fire.
    Positivity rate is the smoke.
    Don’t wait for the room to get hot before trying to put out the fire.


  13. - Dotnonymous - Tuesday, Oct 20, 20 @ 2:44 pm:

    Why pump gas before the gauge indicates nearly empty?


  14. - Perrid - Tuesday, Oct 20, 20 @ 2:46 pm:

    There is some truth to the idea that just the number of daily cases, or the positivity rate itself, isn’t necessarily a sign of death or severe disease. Cases in younger people are much, much more likely to be mild, and since we’re not testing randomly the positivity rate isn’t a perfect indicator of how widespread a disease is. Note that I said “perfect”, I’m not saying it doesn’t have any use as a predictor. So, those things aren’t perfect.

    But it takes a average of about 6 days after infection for symptoms to develop (up to 14 days), and then another week or 10 days to get sick enough to go to the hospital. So maybe a 3 week delay between getting infected and getting hospitalized. 3 weeks of worsening spread, before the metric meets whatever threshold we make to trigger more mitigation strategies. As other’s have said, that would very late.


  15. - Smalls - Tuesday, Oct 20, 20 @ 2:51 pm:

    Agree with the previous comments about hospitalizations being a lagging indicator. But beyond that, hospitalizations have risen 57% in one month from 1,436 on September 20th to 2,261 today. We will soon be talking about setting up mobile army hospitals again like Wisconsin has had to do to handle the surge.


  16. - @misterjayem - Tuesday, Oct 20, 20 @ 2:52 pm:

    Sen. Schimpf would have us sound the tornado siren based on the number of homes that have already blown away.

    – MrJM


  17. - Leigh John-Ella - Tuesday, Oct 20, 20 @ 2:53 pm:

    An elected official favoring human suffering and hospitalization over proactive prevention. Sign Paul Schmipf up for a Nobel nomination. What a sad statement of character.


  18. - Precinct Captain - Tuesday, Oct 20, 20 @ 2:56 pm:

    Hopefully Judge Schimpf can read trial records better than he can read public health guidance. Oh, wait…


  19. - thunderspirit - Tuesday, Oct 20, 20 @ 2:58 pm:

    Hospitalizations are a lagging indicator (less so than deaths, but still lagging). An admitted patient can already have been spreading for several days before going into the hospital with COVID-like symptoms, while a positive test might have convinced them to self-isolate.

    The conclusion that hospital admissions are adequate as an indicator by themselves is steeped in the tradition of “some of you may die, but that’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make.”


  20. - Pundent - Tuesday, Oct 20, 20 @ 3:06 pm:

    I think that Sen. Schimpf doesn’t understand the concept of “mitigation.” This is why we need daily press conferences from Pritzker and continued information from scientists and doctors. It’s the only way to counter the utter nonsense that’s being suggested.


  21. - phenom_Anon - Tuesday, Oct 20, 20 @ 3:09 pm:

    Over the summer the positivity rate in the Metro East quadrupled with little to no change in hospitalization rate. In Region 5 the hospitalization rate climbed before the positivity rate, and was actually going down, as noted by the governor in his announcement, before he put mitigations into place.
    I don’t know if Schimpf is right, but there might be a problem with the methodology when the leading and lagging indicators appear to be disconnected.


  22. - cermak_rd - Tuesday, Oct 20, 20 @ 3:13 pm:

    I have no idea why we have never used R0 which shows how well the virus is spreading? is it because it would always be above any reasonable threshold or is there some other reason?


  23. - VerySmallRocks - Tuesday, Oct 20, 20 @ 3:46 pm:

    Apparently, Sen. Schimpf is equating going to the hospital to going to a restaurant or bar.


  24. - Club J - Tuesday, Oct 20, 20 @ 3:47 pm:

    I suggested to the host interviewing Sen. Schimpf on the radio to have him go to the source and talk to the head of the hospitals in his area. Ask them if they would rather see the Governor wait until all the beds were full before doing anything or is now the time? The question wasn’t asked. My wife works for the local hospital and gets a daily email stating how things are looking locally and for the state. It’s usually a pretty strong email about what we are up against.

    Like it was said above we sound the tornado sirens before houses start blowing away.


  25. - OneMan - Tuesday, Oct 20, 20 @ 3:48 pm:

    When the water is coming into the basement is not the time to decide you need to do something about the rate of water coming into your basement senator.


  26. - King Louis XVI - Tuesday, Oct 20, 20 @ 3:57 pm:

    Smoke is a meaningless indicator. Call fire department only if you see your room engulfed by fire, not smoke.


  27. - Pass the Butter - Tuesday, Oct 20, 20 @ 4:11 pm:

    Your Honor,

    Many of your constituents receive hospital care in St. Louis if they can even get there. How do you expect Illinois reporting to IMPROVE by relying on the State of Missouri to share that data in a timely manner with IDPH?

    That’s it. That’s the comment.


  28. - Glenn - Tuesday, Oct 20, 20 @ 5:11 pm:

    “In the Jaws of a Pandemic”

    A: There are sharks in the water by our ocean front beach resort.

    B:But if we tell the people there are sharks in the water no one will come to spend money and our seasonal economy will collapse.

    Besides, maybe the sharks have already left and maybe it’s safe to go back in the water.

    We don’t want to cause a needless panic. Let’s not tell anyone about the shark attack.

    Jaws Redux


  29. - DQCardFan - Tuesday, Oct 20, 20 @ 5:38 pm:

    Sen. Schimpf (who represents my home town) is trying to lead from behind. Real leaders need to be trying to discourage the spreading behavior of a populace that appears at times to have a collective death wish.


  30. - Blue Dog Dem - Tuesday, Oct 20, 20 @ 5:49 pm:

    I am not a fan of Shemp. However, much of his district can drive 10 minutes and be in Missouri. Many of the small businesses in his district are also on life support. Estimates in the thousands of households affected. Permanently.


  31. - Leigh John-Ella - Tuesday, Oct 20, 20 @ 7:07 pm:

    Blue Dog, perhaps Mr. Shemp could lead on things like wearing a mask so that the people of his district don’t end up on life support in hospitals in Missouri.


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