Photo from Saint Francis AMITA Health website

Saint Francis Hospital estimates that COVID-19 hospital admissions will peak mid to late next week, with projections of peak ICU bed- and ventilator-utilization only slightly above current levels and below total capacity says Kenneth Jones, President of AMITA Health Saint Francis Hospital Evanston.

As of Thursday, April 9, the hospital had 37 confirmed COVID-19 patients and 5 patients under Investigation. Fifteen of these Covid-19 patients are in ICU, and 10 are on ventilators. 

Hospital management projects a peak need of 13 to 18 ICU beds and 12 to 15 ventilators by next week.  “This may change based on the impact of social distancing and trends in the community, but this is our best estimate,” said Mr. Jones.

Saint Francis Hospital usually has 126 medical surgical beds and 16 ICU beds. Careful planning began in early March to increase critical care capacity for the expected increase in COVID-19 patients and to reduce non-emergency care to free up and efficiently allocate resources and staff.

ICU bed capacity has more than doubled to 34 from 16 beds, 20 of which are negative pressure rooms, required for safe ventilator intubation and extubation of COVID-19 patients.  

The third floor of the hospital is now entirely devoted to COVID-19 patients. The fourth floor is designated for non COVID-19 patients, and the fifth floor for COVID-19 patient overflow.

Saint Francis has 43 ventilators and sufficient medical personal protective equipment (PPE) such as masks and gowns, with the ability to access additional equipment from other AMITA system hospitals and vendors if necessary. “Saint Francis Hospital is part of Ascension Health and Advent Health, two large parent organizations that are sourcing locally, nationally and across the world” Mr. Jones added.

Typical average daily census at Saint Francis is 90 hospitalizations. Through the elimination of elective surgeries and admissions, hospitalizations fell to the mid-60s last week before rising to 87 on April 9. Half of these hospitalizations are COVID-19 patients.

Saint Francis has a labor pool locally and at the system level to support increased patient care.  Staff is able to float and to provide new services to protect patients and COVID-19 -facing nurses and physicians. These services include temperature checks of all staff, new patients and visitors, and COVID-19 testing in a new, temporary structure set up outside the emergency room entrance.  Hospital management adopted a universal masking protocol and added observers on all shifts to ensure staff are putting on and taking off PPE correctly. 

Saint Francis Hospital serves South Evanston, Lincolnwood and North Rogers Park, and is part of the AMITA Health System serving more than 6 million people in Chicago and the surrounding suburbs.

Saint Francis Hospital was founded in 1901 by the Saint Francis Sisters of Perpetual Adoration.  One of the founding missions of the congregation was to help respond to outbreaks of Infectious disease.  This mission responded to the Spanish Influenza pandemic of 1918 and continues today.  

COVID-19 at NorthShore University HealthSystem

NorthShore University HealthSystem is caring for 98 to 103 COVID-19 confirmed patients at Glenbrook and Evanston Hospitals, said Doug Silverstein, President of NorthShore Evanston Hospital. He reports that approximately 30 to 35 patients are in intensive care and 17 to 22 are on ventilators. Patient data varies daily and these figures are for the past 24 hours.

This compares to 80 confirmed patients last Friday, April 3, with 23 patients in ICU and 14 on ventilators. 

Over the past month, NorthShore has taken steps to maximize ICU capacity and free up staff resources for an expected surge in COVID-19 cases. Current ICU and ventilator utilization is well below hospital capacity of 96 ICU beds and 150 ventilators.