HYDE PARK — The University of Chicago Medical Center’s dedicated coronavirus units will soon be phased out as the number of patients there has fallen dramatically in recent weeks.
The coronavirus units, in place for adults since March, will return to serving “their regular patient populations,” according to a staff memo sent Tuesday.
As of Thursday morning, 14 patients were being treated for coronavirus at the hospital, down from a mid-April peak of more than 140. Officials may reopen the units if the hospital sees a second wave of infections.
Coronavirus patients will continue to be isolated and treated in rooms designed to prevent the spread of respiratory infections.
After thorough cleaning, the coronavirus units will return to their regular use likely by the end of the week, according to a hospital spokesperson.
Coronavirus units were put in place when the number of patients outnumbered the hospital’s respiratory infection rooms. The units also helped preserve personal protective equipment supplies at a time where officials were concerned about running low.
But the units placed a heavy burden on health care workers and created “inefficiencies” like reduced admissions and long wait times for other patients, officials said.
With fewer coronavirus patients and protective supplies “stabilized,” officials said all hospital patients will be “better served” as the coronavirus units are shut down.
“Outcomes have been outstanding and the environment has been safe, although demanding for the clinicians assigned to these area,” the memo reads.
Chicago and the rest of Illinois have seen their number of new cases, hospitalizations and deaths from coronavirus fall dramatically in recent weeks.
Block Club Chicago’s coronavirus coverage is free for all readers. Block Club is an independent, 501(c)(3), journalist-run newsroom.
Subscribe to Block Club Chicago. Every dime we make funds reporting from Chicago’s neighborhoods.