Joliet, AMITA report latest COVID-19 numbers

Joliet, AMITA report latest COVID-19 numbers

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Latest COVID-19 numbers suggest hopeful signs that the hospital situation in Joliet has stabilized, but the city is getting complaints about working conditions in warehouses.

There have been 685 reported cases of COVID-19 and 55 deaths in Joliet with no sign of a trend yet, Mayor Bob O’Dekirk said Friday.

O’Dekirk was joined at his semi-regular news conference on local coronavirus developments by Herb Buchanan, president of AMITA Saint Joseph Medical Center Joliet.

The mayor showed a chart of COVID-19 cases reported in the city that showed intermittent spikes and valleys.

“There really isn’t any trend,” O’Dekirk said. “Some of the spikes have occurred when the Illinois Department of Public Health has reported what has come out of the nursing homes.”

There have been large outbreaks at a few nursing homes, including 105 cases at Symphony of Joliet and 41 at Presence Villa Franciscan.

Buchanan said the number of cases coming into the hospital has “stabilized quite a bit.”

“We tend to have anywhere from nine to 26 cases a day,” he said. “It varies quite a bit. Now is a time that it seems to have leveled off a bit.”

The hospital has had as many as 31 intensive care unit beds occupied, he said.

Although 57 beds are available, AMITA Saint Joseph Medical Center only has staffing for 32 beds.

“Quite often staffing is the constraint there,” Buchanan said.

O’Dekirk said calls coming into a Will County Health Department hotline for COVID-19 appear to have eased up with the number of operators handling the line down from six to two.

The county health department has begun working with the Illinois Attorney General’s Office concerning workplace issues, such as implementation of social distancing standards.

“My office has been getting a number of calls in the last couple of weeks on this,” O’Dekirk said.

Asked later where the calls have been coming from, the mayor said he has been hearing from workers in the city’s warehouses.

He said the Illinois Attorney General’s Office has established a complaint process through its website and will call on the county health department to investigate if needed.

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