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Stateville hospitalizations decline

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The number of Stateville Correctional Center inmates in hospitals has gone down providing at least one day of relief amid some predictions that an unmanageable load of coronavirus cases could come from the prison.

The number of Stateville inmates being hospitalized dropped from 19 on Wednesday to 16.

"Three people recovered and were released from the hospital," Dr. Ngozi Ezike, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), said Thursday.

Ezike provided an update on Stateville during the daily state briefing on coronavirus developments.

Ezike also said she was "happy to report that Stateville inmates with COVID-19 now are quarantined from the rest of the prison population.

The quarantine was created by 30 members of the Illinois National Guard who arrived at the state prison in Crest Hill to set up tents in the gymnasium and are providing medical assistance in monitoring patients with coronavirus.

Conditions at Stateville had been worsening since IDPH announced on March 25 that three cases of coronavirus had been confirmed. The number grew to six two days later and has been multiplying since.

One Stateville inmate has died from coronavirus.

The Illinois Department of Corrections website on Thursday listed 49 confirmed cases among inmates and 21 among staff. That was up by only two from Wednesday, but it's unclear how many tests have yet to be processed.

When more than a dozen inmates were sent to AMITA Saint Joseph Medical Center Joliet by Monday, staff called for help.

The Illinois Nurses Association, a union that represents nurses at the Joliet hospital, issued a statement Wednesday saying coronavirus cases coming from Stateville would likely overload Joliet-area hospitals.

Four hospitals were treating the 16 hospitalized patients from Stateville on Thursday, and three others are available if needed.

Ezike's count of 19 hospitalized Stateville inmates at the Wednesday briefing varied by one from a count of 20 provided by IDPH staff later in the day. IDPH staff on Thursday corrected its Wednesday count to 19.

The three returned to Stateville continued to be treated for coronavirus, IDPH said.

Twelve of the 16 hospitalized inmates are at AMITA Saint Joseph Medical Center. One is at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. One is at Morris Hospital. Two are at HSHS St. John's Hospital in Springfield.

The National Guard unit at Stateville is from the 33rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team headquartered in Urbana. The Illinois National Guard has deployed 430 soldiers across the state to support COVID-19 response operations.

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