Resurgence in COVID-19 cases renews fears over whether hospitals can keep up

CHICAGO — Rising COVID-19 hospitalizations are causing concern across the Chicago region and the U.S. as a second wave of coronavirus cases continues.

Since October 23,  27-year-old Kelsey Hindert has been hospitalized with COVID-19 in central Illinois. She’s been on a ventilator, in intensive care, and unable to have visitors including her father.

“It’s been just calling nurses and trying to figure out what’s going on.  Nurses have been great and helpful but you can’t see her. Can’t see your baby. It’s hard,” said her father, Steven Hindert.

Illinois hospitals are filling up at an alarming rate, with more than 5,200 COVID-19 patients hospitalized right now. That’s the highest number since the pandemic began.

As we’ve been reporting, COVID-19 is especially dangerous to the elderly and those who live in congregate settings like nursing homes.

Nearly half of the more than 10,000 Covid-related deaths in Illinois have been traced back to long-term care facilities. 

While most regions still have available hospital beds, experts say that only tells part of the story.

“We have more physical rooms than we have nurses, pharmacists, techs, respirators therapists and doctors who can go and provide care,” said Dr. Rajesh Govindaiah of Memorial Health

Alternate care facilities set up this spring are no longer available, as hospital beds once built in McCormick Place have been dismantled and the equipment re-positioned throughout the state to  add capacity at hospitals and other congregate care settings.

Several alternate care facilities in the suburbs still exist, but they would take three weeks to re-open.

As for Kelsey Hindert in central Illinois, she’s improving and is now out of intensive care. Her dad has a simple plea: “Wear a mask. It’s not that hard.”

Chicago News