Hospitals postpone elective surgeries amid record COVID-19 hospitalizations


CHICAGO (NewsNation Now) — Hospitals across the Chicagoland area are postponing elective surgeries in the midst of one of the most highly transmissible surges of the pandemic.

With almost 6,300 COVID-stricken patients occupying beds across the state of Illinois, doctors from various health care groups said Monday that the vast majority of hospitalized individuals are unvaccinated.

“The situation is growing more challenging by the day,” Mary Beth Kingston, chief nursing officer for Advocate Aurora Health, said. “Ninety-two percent of our inpatients are either unvaccinated, have only received the first dose of the vaccine, or are due for a booster.”

Across Advocate Auroras Health’s 26 hospitals, the number of COVID-19 patients has doubled within 30 days and quadrupled in the last 60 days.

“Beds are very tight. Wait times are long, and really, significantly, our team members are under, I think, a lot of stress right now,” Kingston said.

Jim Skogsbergh, Advocate Aurora Health’s CEO, says that much of the stress is ‘preventable,’ citing vaccination as key to reducing hospitalizations and death from COVID-19.

Numbers statewide show 6,294 people are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 across Illinois, the highest of the pandemic. It’s why doctors are choosing to delay elective surgeries.

“We are postponing or delaying, not canceling, but rescheduling certain procedures to times when there is appropriate staffing to do the procedures safely,” said Dr. Jeff Bahr with Advocate Aurora Health. Cancer treatments and life-saving procedures will continue.

NewsNation affiliate WGN contributed to this report.

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