CHICAGO, Ill. (WTVO) — New modeling from the University of Washington shows COVID-19 cases in Illinois will not be as severe as originally feared, and local hospitals may be able to mostly handle the influx of patients.
University researchers have also lowered their prediction of COVID-related deaths in Illinois to 1,588 down from their previous forecast of 3,629.
The modeling predicts a peak demand on hospital resources will begin to occur on April 11, but researchers no longer forecast a shortage of intensive care or regular hospital beds.
However, they do project the need for more than 600 additional ventilators to help patients breathe.
At Wednesday’s briefing, Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker said the data gives him optimism, but said other models the Illinois Department of Public Health is evaluating show a different picture.
Pritzker ordered schools closed on March 17 and instituted a stay-at-home order that went into effect March 21. Both measures were an attempt to force social distancing with the hope of slowing the spread of the virus and pushing back the strain on hospital resources before they could be supplemented.
Illinois officials have been hesitant to share their own predictions for the peak of the outbreak other than to say it’ll likely happen in mid-to-late April. They emphasize the importance of continuing social distancing well past the peak of the outbreak to avoid a resurgence of the virus.
It’s worth noting not every model agrees with the University of Washington forecast, some have said its estimates are too low. However, it is one of the models used by the White House to anticipate health care needs, according to the Washington Post.
At Wednesday’s briefing, Pritzker said the state is currently able to test 6,000 people per day for COVID-19, short of the 10,000 per day capacity he had hoped to reach this week.
Pritzker said they are working with ThermoFisher to reach that goal, but the company has not finalized their tests yet.
“We will not sacrifice accuracy for speed,” Pritzker said.
The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 1,529 new cases of coronavirus in the past 24 hours, and 82 deaths.
As of Wednesday, the Illinois Department of Public Health says it has 15,078 positive cases, 462 deaths, with 75,066 total tests completed.
Pritzker said Illinois is relying on local labs to create tests, instead of relying in federal labs.
“We’ve led the way in state led testing and we’re doing to do it again,” Pritkzker said. “In-state universities are creating their own resources instead of world supply.”
One state lab is running three shifts, with two more ramping up to do the same. Ninety-six locations across the state are collecting specimens, the governor said.
“I am so proud to see people rallying together around the state they call home and helping each other during these unprecedented challenges,” said Pritzker.
The Illinois COVID-19 Response Fund (ICRF) announced today it has distributed more than $5.5 million to 30 nonprofit organizations across the state, marking the first grants since launching.
The Fund established by the United Way of Illinois and the Alliance of Illinois Community Foundations, in collaboration with the Office of the Governor, today also announced it has raised more than $28 million from nearly 2000 donors since its launch on March 26.
Funds raised will be disbursed to nonprofit organizations across the state serving individuals, families and communities hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Local recipients of the grants include:
- Freeport Community Foundation
- DeKalb County Community Foundation
- United Way of McLean County
- United Way of Rock River Valley
“This initial wave of funding will help people across the entire state and provide critical support to the communities that need it most. This generosity defines what it means to be All In Illinois,” Pritzker said.
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