For the second consecutive day, the Tri-County Area added more than 400 new COVID-19 cases, and more than 200 patients are hospitalized in the region as the pandemic’s second wave continues to surge.
Health officials on Thursday reported 14,391 total coronavirus infections in Peoria, Tazewell and Woodford counties since the start of the pandemic. That represents an increase of 417 in 24 hours--a day after adding a single-day high of 449--and an addition of 1,159 over 72 hours.
"The seven-day average now sits for the Tri-County at 373 cases," said Peoria City/County Health Department Administrator Monica Hendrickson. "That means daily, we're averaging 373 new cases in our Tri-County. Compared to this time last week, we were at 304."
About 18% of the Tri-County region's total cases since the pandemic began in March were reported in just the last seven days.
Peoria’s four hospitals are currently dedicating 201 beds to people with COVID-19, adding 26 more patients than the day before. Intensive care units are treating 59 coronavirus patients, while the number of residents isolating at home with the disease is 4,060.
Only about 30% of Region 2's hospital ICU and medical surge capacity remains available. Hendrickson said use is growing at an unsustainable rate.
"What makes COVID so difficult, even from our hospital planning standpoint, is that it's not like other viruses. A lot of the rules are thrown out the window," she said. "We are understanding that our ICU length-of-stay, our med surge, all of those are extended. And there's a high percentage of people, that once they are discharged, they can come back into the system."
Hendrickson is urging businesses and residents to comply with the Tier 3 mitigations going into effect on Friday under the governor's Restore Illinois plan. Those include closures of museums, casinos, and movie theaters.
Hendrickson said local contact tracing efforts show more cases are stemming from workplace spread among co-workers. That includes retail, food service, and office environments, she said.
"One of the biggest things we can do is start working, and encouraging remote working, and working at home when possible," she said.
Small gatherings among people who do not live in the same household and aren't taking proper precautions like social distancing and mask-wearing also remain a factor, Hendrickson said.
A Peoria County woman in her 60s with underlying health conditions was the region’s only COVID-related fatality reported Thursday. The region’s death toll since the start of the pandemic is 201.
On Thursday, the Illinois Department of Public Health reported 14,612 new COVID-19 cases and 168 additional deaths. The state’s totals since March stand at 621,383 cases and 11,178 fatalities.
Illinois hospitals had 6,037 patients with COVID-19 as of Wednesday night, with 1,192 in ICUs and 587 on ventilators. The state’s positivity rate ticked down slightly again. It now stands at 14%.
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