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COVID-19 update

Friday, May 20, 2022

* Reported cases barely increased over last week, but hospitalizations, a lagging indicator, jumped 17 percent (although at a still low 1,060). Deaths, the ultimate lagging indicator, are up 24 percent (but that’s from 45 to 56). IDPH

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) today reported 40,193 new confirmed and probable cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Illinois, including 56 deaths since May 13, 2022.

According to the CDC, eight Illinois Counties are now rated at the High Community Level for COVID-19 cases and 39 counties are rated at the Medium Community Level.

Currently, IDPH is reporting a total of 3,249,534 cases, including 33,761 deaths, in 102 counties in Illinois since the beginning of the pandemic.

As of last night, 1,060 individuals in Illinois were reported to be in the hospital with COVID-19. Of those, 116 patients were in the ICU and 43 patients with COVID-19 were on ventilators. The preliminary seven-day statewide case rate is 315 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 Illinoisans.

“With COVID-19 case counts rising across the state, the public should understand that they can take action to protect themselves, their loved ones, and friends,” said IDPH Acting Director Amaal Tokars. “Everyone should make sure they are up-to-date with vaccinations and booster shots. As we see movement into higher community risk levels, masking up in indoor public places and avoiding crowded indoor spaces as much as possible will also make a difference. And if you test positive, promptly contact a healthcare provider to discuss which treatment is right for you. The treatments are much more effective at preventing hospitalizations and deaths when they are taken early in the course of the illness.”

The CDC reported that following eight Illinois counties are now listed at the High Community Level; Boone, Lee, Stephenson and Winnebago in the northern part of the state; and Champaign, Ford, Peoria and Tazewell in the center.

In addition, the following are in the Medium Community Level: Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Grundy, Jo Daviess, Henry, Kane, Kankakee, Kendall, Lake, LaSalle, Livingston, Marshall, McHenry, Mercer, Ogle, Putnam, Rock Island, Stark, Warren, Whiteside, Will and Woodford in the northern tier of the state; and Calhoun, Coles, Cumberland, DeWitt, Douglas, Fulton, Jackson, Johnson, Logan, Madison, Mason, Massac, McLean, Menard, Sangamon and Wabash, in the central and southern parts of the state.

At the High Community Level, the CDC recommends that all people wear a well-fitting mask in indoor spaces regardless of vaccination status. For those at risk at risk of severe outcomes, they should consider avoiding non-essential indoor activities in public places, have a plan for rapid testing if needed, and talk to their healthcare provider about other precautions they can take.

At the Medium Community Level, persons who are elderly or immunocompromised (at risk of severe outcomes) are advised to wear a mask in indoor public places. In addition, they should make sure to get up to date on their COVID-19 vaccines or get their 2nd booster, if eligible.

IDPH has been supporting pharmacies and healthcare providers in efforts to increase their inventories of the various FDA-authorized treatments. There are over 1,200 treatment locations in Illinois - including all the major retail pharmacies. More than 96.7% of the state’s population is within a 10-mile radius of one of these locations.

A total of 22,200,483 vaccines have been administered in Illinois. The seven-day rolling average of vaccines administered daily is 13,167 doses. Since May 13, 2022, 92,168 doses were reported administered in Illinois. Of Illinois’ total population, more than 76% has received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose, more than 69% of Illinois’ total population is fully vaccinated, and 52% of the vaccinated population has an initial booster according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Data indicates that the risk of hospitalization and severe outcomes from COVID-19 is much higher for unvaccinated people than for those who are up to date on their vaccinations.

* From Ed Yong’s “What COVID Hospitalization Numbers Are Missing”

Even in quieter periods, health-care workers are scrambling to catch up with backlogs of work that went unaddressed during COVID surges, or patients who sat on health problems and are now much sicker. Those patients are more antagonistic; verbal and physical assaults are commonplace. Health-care workers can also still catch COVID, keeping them from their jobs, while surges elsewhere in the world create supply-chain issues that keep hospitals from running smoothly. All this, on top of two years of devastating COVID surges, means that health-care workers are so exhausted and burned out that those words have become euphemisms. In trying to describe his colleagues’ mental state, Plante brought up Migrant Mother—the famous photo from the journalist Dorothea Lange, which captured unimaginable hardships in a single haunting expression. “That look in her eyes is what I see in folks who’ve been on the front lines,” Plante told me.

Enough health-care workers—nurses, in particular—have quit their jobs that even when hospitals aren’t deluged, the remaining workforce must care for an unreasonable number of patients over longer hours and more shifts. In a survey of nearly 12,000 nurses, conducted by the American Nurses Foundation this January, 89 percent said that their workplace was short-staffed, and half said the problem was serious. Worse, almost a quarter said that they were planning on leaving their jobs within the next six months, and another 30 percent said they might. Even if just a small fraction of them follow through on their intentions, their departure would heap more pressure upon a workforce that is already shouldering too much. “There’s a palpable concern that this can’t be our new normal,” Beth Wathen, president of the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses, told me. […]

Many hospitals are now facing an unenviable bind. Without chances to recover from the past two years, more people will leave, and the staffing crisis will deepen. But for many people, recovery means doing less—at a time when institutions need their workers to do more. “For health-care workers, that’s not our problem; that’s the system’s problem,” Masood told me. “When you say burnout, you’re blaming people for feeling a very normal outcome of being put in a situation that’s depleting us of our energy and humanity. When a house catches fire, we don’t say it was burned out. We say it was burned down, and then we look for the source.” For too long, the U.S. has relied on the “individual grit” of its health-care workers, Jennifer Sullivan, an emergency physician who runs strategic operations for the South’s Atrium Health system told me. Its challenge, now, is to create a health-care system that’s as resilient as the people in it have been forced to be.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

6 Comments
  1. - zatoichi - Friday, May 20, 22 @ 2:33 pm:

    Went in for annual physical last week through our local hospital system. RNs and LPNs I talked with all said how many RNs left to travel jobs that pay $125+ an hour. Now they are being scheduled for mandatory over time just so the system has enough staff to function. They all said the hospital is doing everything it can to be positive in a tough time. But they also said burnout, increasingly obnoxious patients, and much longer hours are leading more workers to decide they do not need this job. There are always open positions for nurses with much less stress. The hospital web employment page has over 100 openings, easily over 50% are nurse related.


  2. - Benjamin - Friday, May 20, 22 @ 3:01 pm:

    I don’t think that the number of reported cases has much bearing on reality any more. So many people are being diagnosed from at-home rapid tests–which have no easy way to report results to public health authorities–that the official numbers can’t be useful except as a lower bound.


  3. - Blue Girl in a Red County - Friday, May 20, 22 @ 3:24 pm:

    Hospitals aren’t the only ones facing serious challenges. Springfield doesn’t have a 24 hour pharmacy right now and several Walgreens have cut the pharmacy hours. Earlier this week I sat waiting for over an hour at the only Walgreens in Springfield that is open until 10 pm. The entire time there was a line of at least 4 people. One man was obviously irritated that he had to wait. The clerk told him that they were understaffed and she normally worked check out at the front of the store. They stopped taking new scripts for people waiting at 9 pm because they wouldn’t be able to get them filled by 10 pm. I really felt for the pharmacy staff in back who I could see were working non-stop churning out scripts. They had about 400 in the queue.


  4. - cermak_rd - Friday, May 20, 22 @ 3:50 pm:

    Why are people being more obnoxious? And how can society take back whatever implicit permission was given to act badly in public?


  5. - NonAFSCMEStateEmployeeFromChatham - Friday, May 20, 22 @ 3:53 pm:

    ==Hospitals aren’t the only ones facing serious challenges. Springfield doesn’t have a 24 hour pharmacy right now and several Walgreens have cut the pharmacy hours. Earlier this week I sat waiting for over an hour at the only Walgreens in Springfield that is open until 10 pm. ==

    Someone on Sam Madonia’s show on 1450 Springfield called in about Walgreens pharmacy on this morning’s show. The caller said that the Springfield Walgreens location he was at, their pharmacy was already closed at 5PM. Meanwhile, someone else mentioned that they got prescriptions at Springfield’s Hyvee pharmacy and was in and out of their drive thru in 2 minutes. Compared to about 24 minute waits at Walgreens in the drive up.


  6. - Mayflower voyager - Friday, May 20, 22 @ 4:42 pm:

    Given the availability of home tests, new medicine, and fewer people being hospitalized, I bet the number of covid cases is WAY higher than what we know.


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