The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) has adjusted mitigation metrics to increase hospital staffing. The change in these metrics allowed various Regions across Illinois to lift the strictest restrictions. The state is launching multiple health care staffing contracts. The adjustment in the metrics is made to reflect the additional staff across the state.
After the adjustment, Region 8, 9, 10, and 11 advanced from Tier 3 to Tier 2. Region 1 and 6 advanced to Tier 1. Moreover, Region 3 and 5 returned to Phase 4 of the Restore Illinois Plan. The IDPH communicated with the local health departments and hospital leaders to discuss the current challenges. The hospital leaders said that they were facing a huge challenge of hospital staffing. There was a need for state-facilitated staffing contracts to overcome this challenge.
Illinois made noticeable progress since the implementation of Tier 3 mitigation efforts on November 20, 2020. Dr. Ngozi Ezike, the director of the IDPH, said, “Hospital leaders have made clear the importance of staffing in their continued response to the pandemic.” Ezike added that the staffing contracts would help them to meet the requirements of their communities.
The current change moves most of the Regions out of Tier 3. Dr. Ezike appreciated the progress made by these Regions. She advised the public to wear the mask and keep their distance to further stop the spread of the virus. The IDPH partnered with the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) and the Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) to launch a surge staffing program. The purpose of this program is to address the capacity challenges faced by the Illinois hospitals.
The mitigation efforts are crucial as the variants of COVID-19 have also been reported. The recent studies revealed that the variants could spread more quickly. A new variant, B.1.1.7, is recently identified in the UK. The health experts predicted another surge in the upcoming months. The IDPH urged people to wear the mask and practice social distancing.