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WGLT's reporting on the coronavirus pandemic, which began in McLean County in March 2020.

B-N Hospitals Urge COVID Precautions Amid More Patients

Carle signage in Normal
Ryan Denham
Carle BroMenn Medical Center in Normal currently has 19 patients with COVID-19, including one in intensive care, a spokesperson said.

Bloomington-Normal’s hospitals are urging the public to follow public health guidance as they see more and more patients being admitted due to COVID-19.

Carle BroMenn Medical Center in Normal currently has 19 patients with COVID-19, including one in intensive care, said spokesperson Lynn Hutley. The hospital is currently at 77% patient capacity, though it does have the ability to expand its overall bed capacity through its surge plan, Hutley said.

“The ongoing increases in cases is concerning, however, and we encourage everyone in our community to wear a mask, wash their hands and practice social distancing,” she said.

A spokesperson for OSF HealthCare St. Joseph Medical Center in Bloomington declined to provide exact COVID-19 patient numbers, but confirmed it’s seeing an “uptick in hospitalizations.”

“We do have high volumes right now at OSF St. Joseph, yet we are confident we have adequate staffing, PPE (personal protective equipment) and beds to meet the needs of all of our hospitalized patients,” the spokesperson said. “We urge the communities we serve to continue to wear masks, wash hands, and maintain proper physical distance to help slow and prevent the spread of COVID-19.”

After going through most of summer with very few (and sometimes zero) people hospitalized, McLean County has recorded 10 or more people hospitalized almost every day since mid-October.

McLean County is part of the state’s 20-county Region 2. That region, which entered the first tier of new COVID restrictions last week because of a spike in cases and positivity rate, appears to have enough hospital beds – for now.

About 33% of ICU beds are available; the state’s warning threshold is 20%. About 36% of overall hospitals are available; the state’s warning threshold there also is 20%.

Gov. JB Pritzker said his administration is closely monitoring whether to open alternate care facilities to absorb the surge in COVID hospitalizations, or put a pause on elective surgeries again.

“Across the state, the majority of our regions are seeing far higher rates of hospitalizations for COVID-19 than they ever did last spring,” Pritzker said. “Outside of Cook and the collar counties, much of Illinois’ communities are experiencing the worst surge that they’ve seen yet.”

Chicago and surrounding counties that were hit hardest in the first wave of the pandemic in April, also are seeing an uptick in COVID hospitalizations, but not as bad as the numbers in central, southern and northwest Illinois. 

Coronavirus - Testing Positivity Rate
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Ryan Denham is the digital content director for WGLT.
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