Peoria Hospitals Preparing Now For ICU Patient Surge

Mar 30, 2020

The Tri-County hospitals are now reporting the number of COVID-19 related cases in their intensive care units.

Currently, three patients with a confirmed COVID-19 case are in the ICU. Another four patients under investigation for virus exposure are also in those units.

Peoria City/County Health Department administrator Monica Hendrickson said ICUs at OSF St. Francis and the three local UnityPoint hospitals are preparing for a potential surge in patients. They're also expanding capacity.

"You've seen this in the New York area, where they're converting vent machines or anesthesiology machines to help facilitate this," she said. "So both hospitals are looking to expand their capacity right now. So what they would be normally built for a year ago, they're trying to expand that as we speak."

Hendrickson also said the hospital ICUs are at lower-than-usual capacity right now because many non-essential procedures are postponed. She didn't have a number or percentage for the number of ICU beds filled. A ProPublica survey suggests there are around 71 ICU beds in the Peoria area.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker said a mid-April peak of COVID-19 cases is expected.

Researchers at the University of Washington predict Illinois will be in short supply of ICU beds for a two-week stretch beginning in the second week of April.

The anticipated surge in patients also spurred Pritzker and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot to announced Monday that McCormick Place will be temporarily converted into a 3,000 bed alternative care facility for COVID-19 patients with mild symptoms.

There are currently 16 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Tri-County area.

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