IL Health Care Workers Are ‘Paying The Price’ As Cases Surge

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ILLINOIS — As coronavirus cases in the state continue to rise and health care workers get overwhelmed, Gov. J.B. Pritzker is urging people to do their part and help the front-line workers by staying home whenever possible and wearing masks when venturing out.

“What nurses and doctors and health care workers are experiencing right now in their hospitals is a crisis as challenging as the one they experienced last spring,” Pritzker said during his Monday news conference. “These are our front-line health care heroes, and they need our support right now.”

He said before this current surge, Illinois had reached its hospitalization peak six months ago, and as of the most current data, the state is seeing an average of more than 5,200 residents fighting COVID-19 in hospitals, which is more than 400 individuals during the “spring high.” Hospitalization has increased 70 percent in the last two weeks alone, he said.

“Our doctors, nurses, EMTs, hospital social workers and respiratory therapists are paying the price,” Pritzker said. “They are exhausted, often working overtime and double shifts.”

He emphasized that the entire nation is seeing record numbers in hospitalizations and therefore if the condition in Illinois gets worse, health care workers from other states will not be able to come and help. He said that if we wait till our hospitals are full to take action, “it will be too late” and countless patients will die “unnecessary deaths” because there aren’t enough hospital beds or people to staff them.

State health officials on Monday reported 11,632 new cases of the coronavirus and 37 more deaths. The statewide totals stand at 585,248 infections, 10,779 confirmed deaths and 387 probable deaths. Hospitalizations jumped another 4 percent from Friday. As of Sunday night, 5,581 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 across Illinois, including 1,144 in intensive care and 514 on ventilators.

Pritzker said he is hopeful that with the cutting-edge research by the various pharmaceutical companies, coronavirus vaccination will be available to the public by early spring.

“Still that is months away. So we have to let that inspire us not to give up and to take more precautions for ourselves and our health care workers,” he said. “Let’s do all that we can to save lives now so that more Americans, more Illinoisans will be here when the vaccine is here.”

Ruth Colby, president and CEO of the Silver Cross Hospital in New Lenox said hospital workers are weary and the pandemic has taken its toll on them. She said currently the hospital has 60 employees who are not able to come into work because they have contacted COVID-19 in the community.

“The hospital is safe. We have PPE, we have visitors’ restrictions, we have all kinds of protocols in place,” she said. “So please do not delay medical care. But what we are seeing is our staff contracting and being exposed to the disease in small community gatherings or in places where people are not wearing masks and this makes it more difficult for us to take care of people.”

Colby said that the emergency room at Silver Cross has been full night after night and that every time someone in the community does not wear a mask or follow the protocols, that creates a potential for “a health care worker to contract COVID.”

“Please, please help us stem the growth of this disease, especially over the holidays,” she said.

Patch

via Across Illinois Patch https://ift.tt/2BTGj6f

November 16, 2020 at 03:56PM

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