Our Hospitals are filling up, August 13 | Decatur, IL | Macon County

St Mary's and DMH warn that our hospitals are filling up. DMH has 30 COVID patients right now and is running out of beds. Hospitals may cancel elective surgeries if this trend continues.

A photo from inside the Macon County Board Room, sitting in the back row. Pictured is a woman of the press rubbing her eyes or forehead, and several officials in the background appearing to converse. I'm sorry this alt text is not more descriptive, but it's not really an important photo.
Photo by Reed Sutman on an old, bad phone. This is moments before the press conference begins.

The Macon County Health Department held a press conference today regarding our incredible increase in COVID cases. I prepared some questions for the press conference.

Any covid data I talk about can be found from my main covid page.

Disclaimer: I was taking notes on paper. My nerves were incredibly high, so I was struggling to focus. I'm doing my best to relay what I learned, but I may be mis-stating some things by mistake. The air conditioning was also loud, which made it hard to hear at times.

Other Reporting

My Questions

What is being done to reach people who don't watch the news?

Brandi from MCHD spoke about a plethora of local service organizations that do outreach.

Can you talk about the eviction moratorium from the CDC that goes through October 3rd?

Roughly: "There are no experts here for that.". I spoke with Brandi after the conference, and she took note and said they can do some public messaging about it.

For people who are sick with COVID, how are they being supported?

Brandi spoke about covid care packages, and outreach that MCHD does to anyone who tests positive. They ask what resources people need & seek to provide those resources, with the help of community partners. There is also funding for alternate housing & food. There's a Care Resource Specialist team that does outreach and provides COVID care kits.

Call 217-480-9332 for help if you have COVID and need food or other resources.

Where can the public get specific data about hospitalizations?

I listed "Case severity & outcomes, including deaths & long-haul symptoms", "vaccinated vs unvaccinated hospitalizations", and "age of those who were hospitalized" as data points I wanted.

Brandi said some data was available through IDPH about hospitalizations, but privacy laws make it hard to share some of the other data points I'm asking for.

I failed to ask

  • The financial burden on individuals who've been hospitalized
  • Details about the Delta Variant
  • What local data collection is MCHD doing? (or does it all come from the state/cdc?)

Other's questions

I don't know who asked what questions. I'm not familiar with the media people who were present, nor did I keep track in my notes.

Daily Reporting

Macon County Health Department will return to daily reporting M-F. M-Thursday, they will have daily numbers. On Friday, they'll do their normal weekly release. I will continue to do daily updates as well.

How many people are hospitalized due to COVID?

  • DMH: Said about 30. Idk if this is just ICU or not.
  • St Mary's: I don't think they answered, but I they did talk about being overloaded with covid patients.

What portion of beds are taken up by COVID patients?

  • DMH: About 20%, I think he said. We didn't get clarification on these being ICU beds vs. non-icu beds.
  • St Mary's: I don't think they answered

This tracks with CDC data, which is reporting about 17-18% ICU beds used by COVID patients in Macon County recently.

Their Recommendations

  • Vaccinate
  • Wear a mask even if you are vaccinated
  • Talk to your doctor / health care provider if you're concerned about the vaccine.

Are hospital visitors allowed?

In a very limited sense. I believe St. Mary's said they will allow one or two visitors, but that you can't change visitors. So if you go to visit your mom in the hospital, you're one of the 2 approved visitors. I'm not sure the DMH answer.

Are elective surgeries being done?

It is being assessed continually. They may cancel them if the hospitalized covid cases continue to rise. I believe DMH & St. Mary's basically both gave this answer.

At what metrics might we shut down again?

Brandi from MCHD deferred to the state, mentioned something about phase 5 & if we hit certain metrics. She did not detail those metrics.

Who was there

Dave, two WAND people & the WCIA person all asked questions. One lady said nothing. One gentleman arrived late and said nothing. I'm not sure if the WCIA person was actualy WCIA. I think I recognized her, but idk.

Tanya Andricks opened. Then I think both Drew & Theresa spoke about DMH & St Mary's. Then Brandi Binkley spoke & shared some data. Then it was mix of Drew & Theresa answering or Brandi answering questions. Tanya Andricks closed.

Takeaway

Our hospitals are overloaded with COVID patients. This is an issue in surrounding cities as well. People should wear masks even if they're vaccinated. People should vaccinate. Talk to your doctor. If you have COVID and need support, contact the Macon County Health department at 217-480-9332.

My Disappointments

This wave started in July. On July 26th when I looked at July 23rd's report, it was clear to me this wave had begun. Local officials have finally responded and stepped up their public messaging efforts 3 weeks too late. Probably 60 or more hospitalizations, judging from the cdc data.

I'm extremely critical of the local response to this wave & very disappointed. However, I know there are a lot of people working hard to take care of our community. Doing testing. Contact tracing. Supportive services for those who are in home isolation. So... There's a lot of people doing good work & I appreciate them.

However, that's not what needs a light on it right now. The failures are the things that are harming our community and need to be addressed. So that's what I focus on.

And I think a lot of this is insulting to people's intelligence. Brandi from MCHD did share some data & I appreciate that. But most of the press conference was nice, warm, affirming messaging from officials. It was light on information that actually educates the public and allows them to understand for themselves. Rather, it was mostly officials giving official recommendations to the public. That doesn't help people who don't trust "official" statements.

They also suggested people not panic. I get it. But I think you should panic a little, in a healthy kind of way. In an "Oh my god this is really serious I should stay home so we don't overload local hospitals" kind of way.

Then relax & enjoy time with your video games, pets, friends family, and/or (legal) substance of choice. Don't get hooked or violent or mean!

Feedback, Questions, Corrections

Message me on Facebook @LoveDecatur or on Twitter @LoveDecaturIL. I'm more responsive on Facebook.

Other Recent COVID Coverage

This list will very likely NOT be updated. Sorry.