With fewer available hospital beds, Pritzker administration managing distribution of COVID therapies | Illinois

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(The Center Square) – With hospitals seeing increased usage of COVID-19 intensive care beds, the Pritzker administration says it is distributing treatments where it can, but the focus is on masking and vaccination.

From Nov. 29 to Dec. 19, the number of ICU beds statewide with a COVID-19 patient went from 457 to 845. That’s still shy of the 1,217 ICU beds that peaked on Nov. 29, 2020.

From Nov. 29, 2020, to Dec. 19, 2021, the total number of staffed ICU beds, including COVID, non-covid and vacant beds has decreased statewide from 3,306 to 3,011, a decline of nearly 300. The total number of hospital beds during that time went from 32,717 to 31,655, a decline of 1,062.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who’s mandated vaccines for healthcare workers, continued to promote vaccination and masking, but last week he also discussed getting the COVID-19 monoclonal antibodies treatment out “everywhere throughout the state.”

“That’s not a small feat, it’s hard to get a hold of them,” Pritzker said. “There’s a bit of a shortage of monoclonal antibodies, but we are managing that throughout Illinois.”

On Dec. 10, the Illinois Department of Public Health estimated such treatments prevented 235 hospitalizations in a month’s time.

“IDPH continues to encourage health care providers, including primary care offices, outpatient clinics, urgent care centers, infusion centers, dialysis centers, home health services, and hospitals to assess their capabilities to provide this treatment to their patients quickly after they have been identified as having COVID-19 and are determined to be at risk for severe illness or hospitalization,” IDPH said in a statement.

Shipments are generally sent within 1 business day of requests, but delays can happen.

Those who can get the treatment must weigh more than 80 pounds, be 65 or older or people 12 and older with chronic kidney disease, heart or lung disease, pregnancy, diabetes or are immunosuppressed. Treatments must be provided between three and ten days of a positive test.

The IDPH updated a list of monoclonal treatments that are available Tuesday.

Pritzker said they’re also managing shipments of a pill treatment.

“Although they are a little less effective than the monoclonal antibodies, they’re still somewhat effective and so we want to make sure that those are getting to hospitals across the state,” Pritzker said.

Outside of treatments for eligible COVID patients, Pritzker continued to promote vaccination and masking as a form of protection.



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Caleb Alexander

Caleb Alexander

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