This article has been updated to provide clarification on the types of surgeries impacted

MATTOON, Ill. (WCIA)– At least one Central Illinois hospital is trying to avoid postponing most elective surgeries following Governor J.B. Pritzker’s recommendation to do just that on Thursday.

Gov. Pritzker made the recommendation to deal with a surge of COVID-19 cases.

Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center in Mattoon has postponed several inpatient elective surgeries but is continuing to perform outpatient elective surgeries, according to the hospital’s communications director, Patty Peterson.

Colleen Swick, the director of surgical and procedural services said as long as they have the staff and bed-space to manage elective procedures, the benefit of keeping them going outweighs the cost.

“We are evaluating surgical cases on a week-by-week, sometimes day-by-day basis,” Swick shared.

This sort of recommendation is something we haven’t seen since 2020 and back then, many routine check-ups, including cancer scans, were put off to the detriment of patients.

Swick said she’s not seeing that same fear and trickle-down effect this year. In fact, she said their office practices are much busier than in 2020.

“We have to be realistic in trying to find ways to provide the same level of care that we’ve always provided with the volumes that we’re currently seeing,” she explained.

“It’s definitely a stretch, as it is for every healthcare organization. You know, we’re working harder than we’ve ever worked but at this point in time, with the numbers being what they are, there’s really no other options.”

Swick assured us going to doctor’s appointments is still safe. She also urged people not to delay procedures or appointments.

She said Sarah Bush Lincoln staff is meeting at least once a week to discuss the next week’s procedures, so they’re constantly re-evaluating how to keep routine healthcare services going while mitigating the pandemic.

HSHS is rescheduling some elective surgeries. A representative told us this is being done on an as-needed basis.

The hospitals, including St. Mary’s in Decatur and St. John’s in Springfield, are “prioritizing care for the sickest patients.”