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Local News

Hospital ICU utilization reaches 80% in Will, Kankakee counties

Region's ICU bed availability rate the lowest in state, per IDPH data

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The percentage of available hospital intensive care unit beds in the South Suburban Region is the lowest in the state, according to the latest data from the Illinois Department of Public Health.

State health officials have been reporting various metrics related to hospital utilization throughout the novel coronavirus pandemic.

As of Sunday, there were only 32 ICU beds available for operation in the region, which includes Will and Kankakee counties, out of 162 total. The number of available ICU beds was as low as 19 over the weekend, according to the IDPH.

The latest number put the South Suburban Region's ICU bed utilization at 80%, the highest in the state.

The next-highest rate is in the West-Central Region of the state, where 76% of ICU beds were being used as of Sunday. The area with the lowest utilization rate is the the North Suburban Region, which includes Lake and McHenry counties, which had 58% of beds in use.

Overall, about 70% of ICU beds in the state were being used as of Sunday.

The rate of ventilator availability looks much better, with about half being used in Will and Kankakee counties. Though experts have said with alternative treatments for COVID-19, ventilators are less necessary to use.

State officials have signaled growing concern over the latest surge in new infections in Illinois and around the country which they fear could overwhelm the health care system if the numbers continue to increase.

Even as new infections continue to increase in Will County and across the state, representatives from area hospitals have told The Herald-News that they are more prepared for this wave after experiencing the first surge this past spring.

Still, Ruth Colby, the CEO of Silver Cross Hospital, recently told the New Lenox Village Board that the latest surge is "making everyone weary."

Despite the warnings, the South Suburban Region's rolling average COVID-19 test positivity rate has continued to steadily increase over the last few weeks. As of Nov. 13, the rate stood at 19.7%, per the IDPH.

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