Hospital beds in Illinois are more full than they were during the COVID-19 pandemic's deadliest surge last year, according to an analysis in The Chicago Tribune.
The newspaper reported that a part of the problem is a staff shortage that makes it more difficult to staff beds. It said that even with such problems, hospitals in the state are now staffing about 900 more beds than at their busiest times last year, but that they are also caring for an average of 1,500 patients a day.
That's left hospitals with their lowest levels of bed availability since the summer of 2020, the Tribune reported.
The newspaper said hospitals are dealing with an uptick in people hospitalized with non-COVID-19 problems as well as the decline in health care workers.
State regulators have warned that hospitals become "seriously stressed" once fewer than 20 percent of beds are available, and the newspaper found several counties below that threshold, with some as low as 7 percent.
"We're surrounded by states that are already overflowing with COVID patients, and I'm very concerned we're going to be next," Shikha Jain, an oncologist who assists with running the Illinois Medical Professionals Action Collaborative Team, said to the Tribune.