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Confirmed: COVID-19 hospitalizations on the rise at Northwestern Medicine Kishwaukee, Valley West hospitals

As DeKalb County COVID-19 cases increase, so do area hospitalizations, local health officials said.

Dr. Bob Manam, medical director of infection prevention at Northwestern Medicine Kishwaukee Hospital in DeKalb, said he did not have exact numbers on hand for how many are hospitalized locally with the virus. However, he said, those numbers have been up in all of the health system’s area hospitals, including Kishwaukee Hospital in DeKalb and Valley West Hospital in Sandwich.

“In the last two weeks, it’s really ramped up,” Manam said.

Manam said he believes mostly COVID-19 fatigue, or feeling burned out because of the pandemic, and people letting down their guard are to blame for the hospitalization increases.

“Smaller indoor, at-home gatherings are a driver here,” Manam said.

Manam said DeKalb County hospitals have had a formal COVID-19 team since the pandemic hit the area, but health officials have gotten better at it. He said that multidisciplinary team discusses patients hospitalized for COVID-19 daily and there are a lot more negative pressure rooms, which the health system added more of months ago.

In April, Jay Anderson, president of Kishwaukee and Valley West hospitals, said the entire intensive care unit, which includes separated patient rooms with one bed in each, at Northwestern Medicine hospitals had been converted to negative air pressure, which helps if a COVID-19 patient is hospitalized and needs to be intubated or placed on a ventilator to help them breathe.

Essentially, Manam said, the hospitals have been prepared for a surge that did not happen since May.

“So we have that readiness,” Manam said.

Manam said the health system also has excellent testing and therapeutics.

“[We] feel good in that way, but we are disappointed that there are so many cases,” Manam said. “We hoped that people would be a little more socially distant and wearing masks. So that part has been disappointing.”

Northwestern Medicine spokesperson Desiree Battaglia said in a Friday email that hospital physicians, nurses and staff members are focused on providing high-quality care to patients. She said Northwestern Medicine has not released exact numbers of COVID-19 hospitalizations, but she confirmed area hospitals within the network are seeing an increase in COVID-19 patients.

“Now is the time to remain focused on masking, social distancing and proper hand hygiene,” Battaglia said in the email. “Northwestern Medicine continues to see patients for their scheduled appointments and has surge plans in place that can be activated rapidly should they be required.”

Information about Northwestern Medicine’s response to COVID-19 is available at NM.org.

Manam said he hopes the public service announcements about health and safety recommendations related to COVID-19 keep coming and urges people to be more responsible about how they get together. He said that if a lot of people continue to gather indoors, especially as the weather gets colder, they should remember that COVID-19 is a very communicable disease and is easily passed from person to person.

Manam said it would be worse to have this type of surge at Thanksgiving, with older relatives who might not do well recovering from the illness even with medications.

“That’s a real recipe for a real tragedy that could occur.”

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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