“We’re using a two-pronged approach to make sure a
worst-case scenario does not become our reality,” said Governor JB
Pritzker. “First, we put in place protective measures to suppress
the spread, like our stay at home order, limits on gatherings and
social distancing guidelines. Second, we are working to increase our
health care capacity statewide so that when we do arrive at our next
phase — which should not be our worst-case scenario but will be a
point where hospitalizations significantly increase — we have the
capacity to meet that need.”
Illinois was among the first states to test for COVID-19 in
state-managed labs, beginning with the capacity to run 50 tests a
day in February and since expanding to three state labs running 600
tests a day.
The Illinois National Guard (ILNG) has also opened the state’s first
drive-thru COVID-19 testing site on the northwest side of Chicago,
adding 250 tests a day to the state’s capacity. The site is located
at 6959 W. Forest Preserve Road in Chicago, opening at 9 a.m. and
closing at 5 p.m. daily, unless testing capacity is met earlier in
the day. More than 130 Illinois National Guardsmen are currently
supporting the state’s response to COVID-19.
“The Illinois National Guard is proud to lend a helping hand as part
of the overall state team fighting against this deadly virus,” said
Brig. Gen. Richard Neely, the Adjutant General of the Illinois
National Guard. “Our National Guard members come from every part of
Illinois. We are your friends, neighbors, relatives, co-workers; we
are part of your communities. I couldn't be more proud of these
patriotic men and women who have made the commitment to defend and
serve our state and nation.”
In addition, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services has
opened three sites with their private partners throughout the
Chicago suburbs – one in Cook County and two in Will County. Each
has the capacity to run nearly a 100 tests a day, and up to 250 with
expanded staffing. These testing sites are open from 10 a.m. to 4
p.m. at the following locations:
Walmart: 137 East North Avenue, Northlake
Walmart: 2424 West Jefferson, Joliet
Walgreens: 695 West Boughton Road, Bolingbrook
All four of the mobile testing sites operate under U.S. HHS criteria
which prioritizes health care workers and first responders. As
availability allows, testing criteria may be expanded beyond this
initial pilot program.
Finally, there are four commercial labs and 15 hospital labs
operating across the state, which average about 1,500 tests per day.
IDPH continues to work with hospitals to stand up their own labs,
providing positive specimens to hospitals for validation so they can
come online faster. Several existing hospital labs are building out
their capacity and are within two weeks expected to provide
additional 2,805 tests a day, totaling more than 4,300 a day.
Working to expand capacity by thousands of more tests a day, the
state continues to partner with hospitals to bring additional labs
online and is exploring additional mobile testing sites across the
state, along with continued consistent delivery of necessary
supplies, such as the reagent and viral transport media.
Hospitals across the state are meeting the current need, and the
state is building additional capacity to treat patients that may
need care in the future.
[to top of second column]
As of March 23, data reported to the Illinois
Department of Public Health (IDPH) showed 12,588 non-ICU beds, 1,106
ICU beds and 1,595 ventilators available in hospitals across the
state. The current capacity of the state’s health care system as of
is shown in the table below.
Looking ahead, IDPH has put together projections
for the hospital infrastructure needed to meet a surge of demand on
the health care system if no protective measures were put in place —
the worst-case scenario. Given that Gov. Pritzker has instituted a
variety of mitigation and suppression methods over the last two
weeks, the anticipated need will likely fall below these forecasts.
On March 30, IDPH projected that hospitals across the state would
need an additional 2,511 non-ICU beds, 837 ICU beds and 419
ventilators compared to current capacity if the state took no action
to combat the virus.
On April 6, IDPH projected that hospitals would need an additional
28,222 non-ICU beds, 9,407 ICU beds and 4,704 ventilators compared
to current capacity without any protective measures.
This projected surge emphasizes the urgency that brought Gov.
Pritzker to take several actions to ‘flatten the curve’ and prevent
a rapid increase of cases.
In addition to those protective measures – which include the stay at
home order, ban on gatherings exceeding 10 people, school closures
and social distancing guidelines – the Governor has taken several
steps to increase the capacity of the health care system:
Triage centers: The Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA)
has deployed 49 tents to area hospitals to set up triage centers
outside their facilities to evaluate potential COVID-19 patients. In
total, 66 of the state’s over 200 hospitals are currently operating
with this expanded capacity. IEMA is working with 26 additional
hospitals across the state to open new triage centers.
Repurposing old hospitals: IDPH, IEMA, the Illinois National
Guard and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are investigating closed
hospitals that could temporarily reopen to support our COVID-19
response. In a worst-case scenario surge, the State would dedicate
several dozen existing hospitals almost entirely to COVID-19
patients, moving non-COVID patients to other hospitals, including
these re-outfitted locations.
Expanding capacity in existing hospitals by acquiring critical
equipment: The administration continues to scour the globe for
essential medical equipment like ventilators, including working with
scientists and experts in Illinois and beyond to pursue innovative
options. The Governor also spoke with President Trump yesterday and
informed him that Illinois needs millions of N95 masks and hundreds
of ventilators. The President promised assistance, and yesterday
afternoon, the White House notified IDPH that Illinois will be
receiving 300 ventilators and 300,000 N95 masks from FEMA in the
[OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR JB PRITZKER]