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Latest COVID-19 surge has likely peaked, governor says

By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois phancock@capitolnewsillinois.com SPRINGFIELD – Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Wednesday that he was “cautiously optimistic” that the recent surge in COVID-19 cases spurred by the omicron […]

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COVID surge prompts multiple state responses; General Assembly calls off in-person sessions next week

By PETER HANCOCKCapitol News Illinoisphancock@capitolnewsillinois.com SPRINGFIELD – A continuing sharp spike in COVID-19 cases being driven by the omicron variant has pushed the state’s hospital capacity to its limits and […]

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Surge of COVID-19 cases stresses Illinois health care; hospitalizations hit pandemic peak

By GRACE KINNICUTTCapitol News Illinoisgkinnicutt@capitolnewsillinois.com As omicron surges across the state, Gov. J.B. Pritzker warned Monday that hospitalizations are about as high as they were last winter before vaccines were widely available. About 85 percent of those hospitalized with COVID-19 across the state are unvaccinated. “It is frustrating and tragic that two years into the pandemic, with multiple widely available and free, life-saving vaccines, that we are once again in this horrible position,” Pritzker said during a news conference in Chicago. The Illinois Public Health Department reported 6,294 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Sunday, the most since the pandemic began. Dr. Ngozi Ezike, IDPH director, said an average of 550 people are being admitted to hospitals each day. With hospital beds for other emergencies “frighteningly limited,” Pritzker joined the Illinois Health and Hospital Association in urging health care providers to postpone non-emergency surgeries and procedures as needed to accommodate the influx of COVID-19 cases. “This surge is testing our health resources yet again,” said A.J. Wilhelmi, CEO and president of the IHA. Though hospitals have become accustomed to managing bed capacity and the needs of COVID-19 patients over the course of the pandemic, Wilhelmi said the best way for people to provide relief for health care workers and facilities is to get vaccinated and boosted. More than 19 million vaccines have been administered with about 60 percent of Illinois residents fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Pritzker fears the rise in COVID-cases will continue to increase as the virus incubates in those who were exposed during the holidays. He urged individuals to get tested as soon as possible. Pritzker also announced that starting this week, free community-based testing sites will expand operations to six days a week. There is a full list of site locations and times on IDPH’s website. Capitol News Illinois is a nonprofit, nonpartisan news service covering state government and distributed to more than 400 newspapers statewide. […]

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Larry Lough

Larry Lough

Larry Lough is editor of The Independent and reports local news.

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Susan W. Murray

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