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.
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.