Morris Hospital had 23 COVID-19-positive patients as of Monday morning, Janet Long, public relations manager for Morris Hospital & Healthcare Centers, said in an email.
Last spring, 10 was the highest in day, Long said.
“Since Oct. 23, our ICU bed availability has ranged from 17-29% depending on the day,” Long said in the email.
More sick patients are coming through the emergency department, but these include people with infections, strokes, chest pain and high blood pressure, Long said.
“In recent days, we’ve also seen an increase in asymptomatic people coming to the emergency room,” Long said. “We ask that people who aren’t sick and are just looking for testing go to a covid testing site rather than a hospital emergency room so we can reserve hospital emergency rooms for people who are in need of emergency medical care.”
Long said some staff members at Morris Hospital have tested positive for COVID-19 over the past eight months, and the hospital also has had patients who died from COVID-19.
“I’m sure that is true for any hospital,” Long said.
Long said hospitals typically assess patient capacity daily and adjust where needed. But because of COVID-19’s potential impact, Morris Hospital developed a surge plan last spring. The plan's flexibility should allow Morris Hospital to care for as many COVID-19-positive inpatients as possible, in addition to patients who are hospitalized for other reasons.
“Any time a hospital is faced with having more patients than beds, canceling elective surgeries is one way to increase bed availability,” Long said in the email. “Sometimes hospitals have to go on bypass if they are unable to accommodate additional patients.
That said, Long said the increases in positive cases and the number of patients requiring hospitalization “is certainly a serious matter.”
“The best thing everyone can do to help us is to wear masks, practice hand-washing and avoid gatherings,” Long wrote. “This is how we slow the spread of the virus.”
Three hospitals in Will County also are seeing an increase in COVID-19-positive patients. They, too, have surge plans in place.
As of Monday, Silver Cross Hospital in New Lenox had 85 COVID-19-positive patients and one patient waiting for test results, said Debra Robbins, director of marketing and community relations for Silver Cross Hospital.
“We worry about people not masking in the community and exposing health care workers,” Robbins said in an email. “If a health care worker is exposed, they’re unable to work."
AMITA Health Saint Joseph Medical Center in Joliet had 64 COVID-19-positive patients as of Monday, said Dr. Gary Lipinski, chief medical officer at AMITA Health Saint Joseph Medical Center.
“Our ICU is busy, but we are not full, I would say, at this point,” Lipinski said.
Like Morris Hospital, Edward Hospital in Naperville also has seen more positive cases than in the spring, said Keith Hartenberger, system director of public relations at Edward-Elmhurst Health.
The number of patients being treated in the intensive care unit at Edward Hospital also has increased, Hartenberger said.