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Pritzker announces new efforts to bolster healthcare workforce during current COVID-19 surge

Pritzker announces new efforts to bolster healthcare workforce during current COVID-19 surge

More than 2,000 contract healthcare workers will be deployed to hospitals across Illinois to support overwhelmed staff, Gov. JB Pritzker announced Wednesday.

Of those, 919 supplemental workers have already been placed at hospitals in regions hit hardest by the omicron-fueled surge, Pritzker said. An additional 552 workers are expected to arrive by the end of next week.

Additionally, Pritzker said his administration has created COVID-19 “reaction teams,” a pool of nearly 600 healthcare workers ready to quickly respond to emerging crises at hospitals and other healthcare facilities.

“Medical professionals and staff are caring for our family members, for our neighbors, our friends in this hour of need,” he said. “They need help, and I’m doing everything that I can to support them as they tackle this latest surge.”

Pritzker said his administration is also working with individual hospitals to expedite their applications for federal assistance.

Out-of-state healthcare workers will also continue to be allowed to work in Illinois hospitals, Pritzker said, and doctors who received medical training in another country can assist licensed physicians. Out-of-state providers are also allowed to perform telehealth services if there is a pre-existing relationship with the patient.

As of Tuesday, 7,219 Illinoisans were in the hospital with COVID-19, down 134 from Monday and up 377 from the prior week.

Of the patients in the hospital, 1,131 were in intensive care units, down 21 from Monday and down four from the prior week. There were 650 patients on ventilators, down 14 from Monday and down 13 from the prior week.

There were 34,573 new COVID-19 cases and 144 deaths reported in Illinois on Wednesday. The latter is the highest single-day total since 174 were reported on Jan. 7, 2021.

It brings the total COVID-19 case count to 2,522,953, while the death toll is 28,804.

The seven-day average for new cases is 32,501, up 7,318 from a week ago. The seven-day average for daily deaths is 93, up 33 from the prior week.

Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said Wednesday it remains too early to say whether the state is starting to hit the peak of the current COVID-19 surge.

“We know that we have to continue with masking and vaccinations and boosting, and we look to get there soon,” she said.

The seven-day statewide positivity rate for cases as a percent of total tests is 12 percent. The seven-day statewide test positivity using the number of COVID-19 positive tests over total tests is 16.7 percent.

About 78.1 percent of eligible Illinoisans ages 5 and older have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, while 69 percent are fully vaccinated.

Illinois vaccinators have administered 19,799,403 COVID-19 vaccines, including 3,447,852 booster doses. The seven-day average of doses administered is 51,745.

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