Illinois would need 38,000 more beds if COVID-19 not tamed


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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) – Illinois would need tens of thousands of additional hospital beds for COVID-19 patients within the next two weeks if the spreading coronavirus is not contained, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Tuesday.

The pandemic that has now claimed 16 Illinois lives.

The Democrat said at his daily briefing that in a worst-case scenario, the state would need almost 38,000 additional hospital beds, including more than 9,000 in intensive-care units, along with nearly 5,000 ventilators – more than double what’s available in the state right now.

But he said efforts to tame the potentially deadly virus, such as his order to close non-essential businesses and keep people from leaving their homes unnecessarily should temper those numbers.

Public health officials report that more than half of the state’s 28,600 hospital beds are occupied. About 30% of the 2,200 ventilators are in use.

Pritzker said the Illinois Emergency Management Agency has set up triage centers outside of existing hospitals to evaluate potential patients. And his administration is evaluating closed hospitals that could be temporarily re-opened.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced on Monday a plan to reserve thousands of hotel rooms for patients with mild cases of COVID-19.

Pritzker said existing hospitals also need more equipment and state officials continue to search for it worldwide. Pritzker reported that after speaking to President Donald Trump Monday, the White House told the public health department that the state would receive 300 ventilators and 300,000 protective face masks in the coming days.


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