Morris Hospital Nears Capacity as COVID Hospitalizations Increase

Morris Hospital & Healthcare Centers is reporting a 400% increase in COVID hospitalizations since the beginning of November. There were 10 COVID positive inpatients at Morris Hospital on October 31, compared to 39 yesterday.

“Our total inpatient census yesterday morning was 80,” says Mark Steadham, President & CEO of Morris Hospital & Healthcare Centers. “Half of our inpatients have COVID-19. Our ICU beds and intermediate care beds are all full. Yesterday, we had 3 open beds on our medical/surgical units and 5 patients holding in our Emergency Department because we don’t have the right bed placement available. The situation is very serious and well beyond anything we experienced last spring.”

“We are seeing the surge that many predicted would overwhelm our hospitals,” he adds.  “It’s here and actually happening in Morris, Illinois.”

In response to the growing crisis, on Tuesday, the hospital had to postpone three surgeries scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday of this week that would have involved an overnight hospital stay.

“It’s the reverse of last spring,” says Steadham. “Right now, we’re able to proceed with outpatient surgeries that don’t require hospitalization, even if they’re elective. It’s the surgeries requiring inpatient care that are being effected. If we’re not going to have a bed available for the patient, we can’t do their surgery. It’s a horrible situation for patients and something we’re going to have to evaluate on a day-to-day basis until the situation turns around. The last thing we want to do is tell a patient that their surgery that’s planned for tomorrow has to be postponed.”

To compound the challenging situation, Morris Hospital’s COVID testing capabilities have significantly diminished in the past two weeks due to a supply shortage. The remaining supply of rapid tests are being reserved for admitted patients only. All other COVID specimen collections have to be sent out to a reference laboratory, with results taking 2-5 days.

During a telephone call with business and community leaders yesterday, Steadham pleaded for cooperation from the entire community, noting that social gatherings and community events are still occurring – as well as indoor dining in some cases – despite Grundy County’s 25% positivity rate and restrictions imposed by the state.

“This isn’t about politics or not being afraid to contract the virus,” Steadham says. “It isn’t about the high recovery rate for the majority of people, and it isn’t about personal freedoms. It’s about a public health crisis that’s starting to limit our ability to provide medical services to everyone who needs it. The Illinois Medical Professionals Action Collaborative Team summed it up best when they said: ‘If hospitals are overwhelmed, care will suffer for those with other unforeseen emergent conditions, such as heart attacks, appendicitis, cancer diagnoses, and motor vehicle accidents, all common conditions.’

“Please, for your neighbors, friends, and for your family, do what has been asked of all of us over the next few weeks: stay home as much as you can, avoid gatherings, wear your mask when you have to go out, keep your distance, and sanitize your hands. If you haven’t been doing these things, we need your cooperation now.”

Serving patients at 26 locations, Morris Hospital & Healthcare Centers includes the 89-bed Morris Hospital, as well as physician offices in Braidwood, Channahon, Coal City, Dwight, Gardner, Marseilles, Mazon, Minooka, Morris, Newark, Ottawa, Seneca, and Yorkville. Through the services of over 1,700 healthcare professionals, physicians and volunteers, Morris Hospital provides lifesaving cardiac intervention with angioplasty and stents, a radiation therapy center for cancer patients, state-of-the-art intensive care unit, sleep center, and walk-in care at four locations. Morris Hospital is a Level II trauma center, Level II perinatal care provider, and primary stroke center. The hospital is known for its compassionate and personalized approach to healthcare and receives national recognition for quality and safety.