Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Southern Illinois Reaches Zero ICU Bed Availability

Southern Illinois' ICU availability dipped to zero Tuesday, as the region continues to battle high COVID-19 numbers in addition to other critical needs.

Arien Herrmann is the Region Five Hospital Coordination Center Manager - the liaison for 22 hospitals and the state. He calls the shortage "controlled chaos," and says more than a third of the critical care beds in the region are taken up by COVID patients.

"We are certainly not where we want to be - but we do have space in the hospitals. We have equipment, we have medication. But we just don't have enough staff."

Herrmann says more than 1/3 of the region's ICU beds are currently occupied by COVID patients - the vast majority of whom are not vaccinated - leaving few options for the rest of the area's critical care patients.

"Those are your heart attacks, your strokes, motor vehicle accidents, multi-system traumas, everything else that would be coming in on a daily basis anyway."

More than half of the region's hospitals have reached out to the state for additional resources - especially staff to handle the high level of need.

Herrmann says those requests are competing with hospitals all over the country, though, and there aren't enough people to fill the positions needed.

WSIU's award winning reporter bringing you the morning news, local political talk and market forecasts.