Chicago-area healthcare workers plead for relief as COVID cases flood hospitals

Healthcare workers have been at the front lines of this pandemic since the beginning, but many of them are not being treated like the heroes they are.

Workers and elected leaders held a virtual meeting Wednesday demanding hospitals support their workers and prioritize critical patient care.

The call for help comes as area hospitals scramble to deal with an increase in COVID-19 cases.


One of their top demands is hazard pay, so workers are compensated for putting their lives on the line.

"All healthcare workers in this moment need help and support," Greg Kelly, SEIU Healthcare Illinois president, said. "Our healthcare system is on the brink and Omicron is here today, what will be here tomorrow? So we need to prepare for any potentials beyond Omicron, but we are in a crisis at this moment. We are demanding that hospitals do their fare share to protect those workers who need all the support they can get in this moment."

Community hospitals said they are struggling to allocate the resources needed for life-saving care and they often face difficulties in transferring patients to better-resourced institutions, such as Northwestern Medicine.