Pritzker urges hospitals to delay ‘non-emergency’ surgeries as COVID cases rise

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(The Center Square) – Gov. J.B. Pritzker is once again urging hospitals to delay non-emergency surgeries and other procedures as COVID-19 cases including hospitalizations rise.

ICU bed capacity has decreased in recent weeks as the much-more transmittable omicron variant spreads, leading to a spike in cases.

“We are preparing for a continuing post-holiday surge, and with hospital staff already working so hard, I appreciate the work hospital leadership is doing to assure capacity, including postponing non-emergency surgeries and procedures to ensure their ability to handle serious COVID cases and other emergencies without putting patients at risk,” Pritzker said in a statement. “To all Illinoisans: please understand that the nation is experiencing high COVID transmission rates, and some surgeries in Illinois will be postponed. We’re asking our residents to temporarily hold off on important medical care like tonsillectomies, bariatric surgeries and hernia repair. As we work to keep ICU beds open, I continue to applaud the efforts of our hospitals and healthcare workers across the state, who have been heroes for us all.”

In a news release from the governor’s office, the state said it expects holiday gatherings to continue to drive new cases, and health officials are worried additional spikes will lead to further problems for what they said is an already strained hospital system.

“We are currently seeing approximately 500 new admissions a day to Illinois hospitals due to COVID-19, and approximately 90% of those are unvaccinated,” Illinois Department of Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said in a statement. “There is a health care worker shortage in Illinois, in the U.S., and across the world. We’re seeing health care workers leave the profession because they are burnt out after watching people suffer severe illness and even death for almost two years now. We want to make sure that there is a hospital bed available for anyone for any reason – cancer complications, appendicitis, stroke, heart attack, car crash, or COVID-19. Please get vaccinated and get boosted, for all of us.”

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