DuPage County health officials sound 'warning bell' over hospital capacity ahead of Thanksgiving

CHICAGO (WLS) — Hospitals in DuPage County are worried about a surge in sick kids. At times, not one of the many suburban hospitals has a pediatric bed to spare.

Karen Ayala, executive director of the DuPage County Health Department, said she is sounding a “warning bell” – as opposed to a “alarm bell” – about west suburban hospital capacity ahead of the holidays.

“We’ve heard by many anecdotal reports that not only emergency rooms, but urgent care facilities, are also backlogged resulting in hours’ worth of waiting for individuals who already don’t feel well,” Ayala said. “We know that’s much less than optimal, that’s much less than what people’s expectations are for our outstanding hospitals in DuPage County.”

Ayala offered tips on how people can stay healthy, and what to do if you become sick.

“First of all, staying up to date with vaccines – both flu and COVID,” Ayala said. “We also want to encourage people if they are felling unwell to stay home and to contact their health care providers quickly.”

Ayala reminded people that there are effective treatments for COVID and the flu, but they must be taken early in the illness to be most effective.

She also urged those who are at-risk to wear a mask. With warm weather expected over the Thanksgiving holiday, she encouraged people to take steps to improve ventilation by opening windows and turning on fans.

Copyright © 2022 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.

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