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'Get That Booster': Chicago Doctors Concerned As COVID Case Numbers Spike Throughout The State

CHICAGO (CBS) --Since December 1st, there's been more than 58,000 new COVID-19 cases confirmed in Illinois.

Just over 3,100 people statewide are now hospitalized with COVID. Less than 1% of those hospitalized in the past week, are breakthrough infections. Meaning they were fully vaccinated, yet still got COVID.

Doctors at one hospital warn, it's those who are not vaccinated flooding emergency rooms and stressing the system. CBS 2's Jim Williams has the story.

At Loyola University Medical Center, the COVID numbers are moving in the wrong direction in a very short period of time. The hospital's chief medical officer, Doctor Kevin Smith, is concerned.

"It seems like we're in a different place now than we were a month ago maybe even a week ago," Smith said.

In the first week of December, the hospital admitted 35 patients with COVID, an increase of 169% over the same period last month. And they're seeing more people with symptoms of the virus compared to a few weeks ago.

"Could be anywhere from mild infections where those people come in and they need a little bit of time in the hospital, dehydration and things like that," Smith said. "To patients who might need oxygen up to patients may need ICU."

Yet again, we're hearing what doctors have been saying for months: Most of the patients with COVID have not been vaccinated.

"Even more reason to say you have to fully vaccinate and get that booster as well. Because of that, you're going to be less likely get severe infection and hopefully even stay out of the hospital," Smith said. "We are seeing some patients who are fully vaccinated but those are usually smaller in number and more mild inflections or they are patients who have other risk factors such as immunosuppression that we already know that put them at higher risk."

One encouraging sign: Not as many ICU patients or those who need ventilators here, compared to the height of the pandemic. As for Omicron, Doctor Smith said they don't sequence the virus at the hospital. So he's not sure if they've had patients with that variant.

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