Competing hospital systems came together in an unprecedented show of unity Tuesday to urge Illinoisans to stay the course to help an overwhelmed healthcare system.
Central Illinois hospital and healthcare systems HSHS Illinois, Memorial Health, SIU School of Medicine, and Springfield Clinic released a joint “Letter to the Community” Thursday asking the public to please think twice and take one more step to protect yourself and those around you as COVID cases again surge to record levels in many areas of the state.
The joint letter addressed to the patients, families, and communities they serve, says the hospital and healthcare systems know you’re sick of COVID-19, sick of being told to get vaccinated, to get boosted, to wear a mask, and avoid big crowds. However, they also know Illinois will be entering the New Year remembering those they cared for in 2020 and 2021 who didn’t make it into the new year.
The letter says the healthcare systems are tired but they are not going anywhere and will continue to serve their communities, and are asking for their help to keep residents safe and make 2022 different than the last two years.
In Chicago, Governor J.B. Pritzker joined the Illinois Health and Hospital Association to urge hospitals in the state to take every possible measure to maintain and expand bed capacity, including postponing non-emergency surgeries and other procedures as needed and without risking patient harm.
Pritzker says the state and hospitals throughout Illinois are continuing to work in concert to prevent the state’s healthcare infrastructure from being overwhelmed by the ongoing Omicron variant surge of COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations.
And by working closely together over the course of the pandemic, the partnership has prevented Illinois from exceeding capacity, unlike other states.
He says throughout Illinois, hospital admissions are rapidly increasing, further diminishing ICU bed capacity. Holiday gatherings are anticipated to drive an increase in the coming weeks, placing an additional strain on Illinois’ hospitals and healthcare workers.
Pritzker and the Illinois Health and Hospital Association continue to urge hospitals to continue following the Illinois Department of Public Health’s guidance on when to consider postponing elective surgeries and procedures that physicians believe can be rescheduled without risking patient harm.