NEW LENOX, IL — Silver Cross Hospital in New Lenox has gone beyond capacity due to the recent surge in COVID-19 cases, the hospital announced Thursday. Silver Cross has 300 total beds, but reported having 338 people receiving in-patient care.
The announcement was made on a YouTube video with Silver Cross Hospital President and Chief Executive Officer Ruth Colby and New Lenox Mayor Tim Baldermann.
Of the 338 people in the hospital’s care, 140 of those were confirmed positive for COVID-19, Colby said. She added that the total number of hospital patients on ventilators was 24.
But, by Friday morning, Silver Cross’ COVID-19 daily dashboard had scaled those numbers back. According to the more recent data on the hospital’s website, 135 patients tested positive with COVID-19 with one additional patient still awaiting results. Of those 136 COVID-19-related patients, 16 were in the intensive care unit and nine were on ventilators.
The difference in the data appears to underscore the rapid day-to-day — and sometimes hour-to-hour — changes as hospitals and healthcare professionals try to keep up with the surge of cases.
To help mitigate the surge in patients, Silver Cross has shut down elective surgeries for the next two weeks and will re-deploy staff where they are most needed, Chief Medical Officer at Silver Cross Hospital, Dr. Chris Udovich, said. The hospital has also converted rooms that would be used for elective surgeries and turned them into rooms to treat the overflow of COVID-19 patients, Udovich said.
“We’ve been operating at close to 120 percent of peak numbers for a couple of weeks at this point,” Udovich said.
Udovich said one of the challenges the hospital faces is that staff have had to work longer hours and are “burned out,” and that some staff have also contracted COVID-19, limiting even further the hospital’s capacity for treating patients.
“But they’ve down a yeoman’s job of really working hard and overcoming obstacles, and I’m deeply appreciative for them doing that,” Udovich said of the hospital staff.
Silver Cross put out a call Wednesday on its Facebook page, announcing that it was looking to hire additional ICU and critical care registered nurses.
Medical Director of Infection Prevention at Silver Cross Hospital,, said he expects this most recent surge in COVID-19 cases will pass in the coming weeks; however, people should still avoid large gatherings and get vaccinated or boosted.
“Right now, we’re seeing COVID spreading like it never has before. It’s spreading like wildfire right now,” Gupta said. “It’s a surge, and surges pass. And we expect and we hope that in the next few weeks that we’ll be through this surge.”
Gupta added that about 85 percent of the hospital’s COVID-19 patients are unvaccinated.
“The other point I’d like to make is that people who are hospitalized and are very sick with COVID are almost exclusively unvaccinated,” Gupta said. “We are seeing some of the vaccinated come in, who just happen to have COVID but are here for something else, but the vast majority of the people who are symptomatic with COVID are unvaccinated.”
Check out the full YouTube video below.