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Peoria-Area COVID Hospitalizations Hit Highest Level Since December

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Currently, 174 people are hospitalized for confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases in a Peoria-area hospital, including 46 patients receiving treatment in intensive care units. Those are the highest hospitalization rates since Dec. 23, 2020.Bob Anderson is president of OSF Saint Francis Medical Center in Peoria. He says the hospital is currently at 81% capacity, or 575 patients. Many are being treated for COVID complications.

 "As we get patients coming to our emergency department, and they're not being discharged at the same rate, patients get boarded in the emergency department," Anderson said. "Which is not optimal, but it is the reality we are facing."

 Anderson says ER patients in need of longer-term care are sometimes waiting more than a day to be placed in an inpatient room. And he says those long waits aren't unique to his hospital.

 He says nearly all the patients hospitalized for COVID-19 haven't received a vaccine. 

The Tri-County health departments on Thursday reported 284 new COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours.

One additional death also is reported -- a Tazewell County woman in her 90s living at Washington Christian Village. That brings the Tri-County death toll to 617 since the pandemic began in March 2020.

Ninety-two percent of the region's COVID patients are considered recovered; 6% are at home isolating.

Statewide, 3,581 new COVID-19 cases were reported, bringing Illinois' total to 1,292,515 cases since March of last year. The state's seven-day rolling positivity rate is 4.9%.

Peoria City/County Health Department Administrator Monica Hendrickson said younger people are still playing a big role in the surge. More infectious COVID variants could also be playing a role, she said.

Region 2, which includes the Tri-County area, is on the verge of triggering renewed mitigations under Gov. JB Pritzker's Restore Illinois plan. But Hendrickson said guidance she's received from the Illinois Department of Public Health suggests those might not look quite the same as last fall, if they are implemented.

"Will it look like what we saw in the fall? Not necessarily. We have to recognize we're living in a different environment where vaccine availability does exist," she said.

Hendrickson said new IDPH guidance is expected in the next week or so.

The Tri-County area is up to more than 216,000 administered doses of COVID-19 vaccines, with more than 21,000 injections performed in the past week.

Peoria County alone accounts for more than half of the shots delivered in the past seven days, and is up to more than 113,000 total doses.

The region now has nearly 94,000 vaccinated residents, or about 26.7% of the population.

Statewide, about 24.3% of adults are fully dosed. Illinois has totaled more than 7.6 million shots in arms.

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Tri-County Vaccinations


Copyright 2021 WCBU. To see more, visit WCBU.

Tim Shelley is the News Director at WCBU Peoria Public Radio.
Joe Deacon is a reporter at WCBU.