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Area hospitals have 'surge plans' in place should there be an uptick of patients

Hospital staffs are briefed daily on coronavirus situation

A sign directs visitors at the Perry Memorial Hospital complex on Park Avenue East in Princeton. Perry and other area hospitals have "surge plans" in place should there be an uptick of patients due to the coronavirus pandemic.
A sign directs visitors at the Perry Memorial Hospital complex on Park Avenue East in Princeton. Perry and other area hospitals have "surge plans" in place should there be an uptick of patients due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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Gov. J.B. Pritzker outlined worst-case scenarios Tuesday for Illinois residents, specifically the ability of hospitals to handle increases of COVID-19 cases.

LaSalle County has had three confirmed cases of COVID-19 — and each individual is said to be recovering at home in isolation. Grundy, Livingston and Marshall counties each have had a confirmed case of the virus, while Bureau and Putnam counties have not had a confirmed case.

Illinois has 2,600 ICU beds across the state, with 1,100 currently available, according to Pritzker. The state has 26,000 non-ICU hospital beds, with 13,000 currently available.

The coronavirus has not affected hospitals' capacity in LaSalle, Bureau and Grundy counties as of Tuesday afternoon.

Worst-case scenarios indicate with no intervention, the state would need an additional 28,000 non-ICU beds and 9,400 ICU beds within the next two weeks.

“That’s untenable,” Pritzker said.

The state has 2,200 ventilators, with 1,600 currently available. Many COVID-19 patients who are hospitalized require intensive-care treatment with ventilators. Those worst-case scenarios indicate the state could need 4,100 more ventilators.

“What we’ve done already is … to make sure a worst-case scenario does not become our reality,” Pritzker said.

The state has intervened with its “stay-at-home” order, closing of schools, bars and restaurants, and various other measures.

OSF St. Elizabeth Medical Center, an acute care facility in Ottawa, is the area's largest hospital with 97 beds.

Morris Hospital has 89 beds. Illinois Valley Community Hospital in Peru and St. Margaret's Hospital in Spring Valley both have 49 beds, while OSF St. Paul Medical Center in Mendota and Perry Memorial Hospital in Princeton each have 25.

Perry hospital officials noted the government is allowing critical access hospitals to provide more than 25 beds during the pandemic.

"We do have extra beds available that are normally used for pre-op and post-op in our endoscopy suite," Perry hospital officials said.

At St. Margaret's, six beds are designated for ICU, four at IVCH and three at Perry. OSF hospitals in Ottawa and Mendota "have capacity and continue to plan for an influx," officials said.

Treatment for COVID-19 patients

St. Margaret's and IVCH officials said the number of ICU patients varies each day, but as of last week they have four to six ICU beds filled for unrelated illnesses. Perry had an average of one ICU bed filled per day. Patients’ average length of stay is typically less than three days, officials said.

Hospital officials have what they call "surge plans," should there be a sudden increase in patients.

"We have an emergency operations plan that contains a surge plan that will allow us to increase our general and/or ICU beds as needed, pending the availability of staff," said Caitlin Parker, community relations coordinator for OSF St. Elizabeth.

"OSF HealthCare St. Elizabeth Medical Center has been running through those scenarios with our leaders, mission partners and medical staff. We presently have no shortage of providers."

When asked about utilizing the Streator facility, a standalone emergency room that was formerly a hospital, Parker said OSF has the ability "to deploy personnel and resources where they are needed."

Area hospital officials said they are briefed by state and national agencies daily to modify plans.

"We evaluate IDPH guidelines daily to update and adjust our approach to patient care as required," said officials at Perry. "Our goal is to care for our patients and staff safety."

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