Pritzker, hospital leaders urge hospitals to postpone non-emergency surgeries during omicron surge

Coronavirus

FILE – In this Aug. 2, 2021, file photo, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker speaks at East Aurora High School in Aurora, Ill. Illinois health care workers and educators from kindergarten through college will be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19, Pritzker said Thursday, Aug.26, 2021, in announcing new safety protocols that also include a fresh statewide mandate for masks to be worn indoors. (Rich Hein/Chicago Sun-Times via AP, File)

CHICAGO, Ill. (WMBD) — In anticipation of a likely surge of post-holiday COVID-19 cases and a potential shortage of staffed ICU beds, Gov. J.B. Pritzker and the Illinois Health and Hospital Association are urging hospitals 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.

The state and hospitals throughout Illinois continue to work cooperatively to make sure Illinois’ healthcare infrastructure does not become overwhelmed by the continuing wave of infections and hospitalizations caused by the Omicron variant of COVID-19.

The release states that Illinois, unlike other states, has not exceeded capacity due to their close collaboration throughout the pandemic.

“We are preparing for a continuing post-holiday surge, and with hospital staff already working so hard, I appreciate the work hospital leadership is doing to assure capacity, including postponing non-emergency surgeries and procedures to ensure their ability to handle serious COVID cases and other emergencies without putting patients at risk,” Pritzker said.

“To all Illinoisans: please understand that the nation is experiencing high COVID transmission rates, and some surgeries in Illinois will be postponed. We’re asking our residents to temporarily hold off on important medical care like tonsillectomies, bariatric surgeries and hernia repair. As we work to keep ICU beds open, I continue to applaud the efforts of our hospitals and healthcare workers across the state, who have been heroes for us all.”

J.B. Pritzker, Governor of Illinois

ICU bed capacity continues to decline throughout Illinois due to a rapid increase in hospital admissions. In the coming weeks, Illinois hospitals and healthcare workers are expected to be put under additional strain due to holiday gatherings.

Furthermore, hospitals should adhere to the Illinois Department of Public Health’s guidance on when to consider postponing elective surgeries and procedures if doctors believe the procedure can be rescheduled without causing harm to the patient. 

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