The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) reported this weekend that 74 counties are at an elevated community level for COVID-19.
IDPH said levels are continuing to rise across Illinois following the Thanksgiving holiday.
IDPH is emphasizing these safety reminders as the CDC reported 29 Illinois counties at a High Community Level for COVID-19, up from 12 a week ago; while 45 counties are a Medium Level, compared to 51 last week. IDPH is reporting 21,404 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Illinois since Dec. 2, and 56 deaths.
“Illinois is experiencing a significant rise in communities at elevated risk levels for COVID-19, including 29 counties at a high risk,” said IDPH Director Dr. Sameer Vohra. “These elevated COVID-19 community levels, along with rising flu levels, are leading to a surge of respiratory infections and increased hospitalizations.” I recommend all Illinoisians – and especially those most vulnerable including young children and individuals over 65 – take all preventative steps to protect themselves, their families and friends.”
Vohra stressed that those who test positive for COVID-19 should immediately contact their healthcare provider to discuss whether they need treatment with one of the effective antiviral medications, Paxlovid, Lagverio and Remdesivir. All of these have been found to work against the current strains of the virus.
Access to tests and treatments can be found at the following test to treat site or by contacting your provider for treatment options, within 5 days of feeling ill.
Through Project ACT, IDPH will be distributing one million at-home antigen tests to 200,000 Illinois families in zip codes outside the City of Chicago that are rated high on a Social Vulnerability Index (SVI). Households can find out if they are in an eligible zip code and request one package of five tests on a first-come-first-serve basis at the Project ACT website. The tests will be delivered to the home address.
Free or low cost COVID-19 testing locations are also available throughout the state, including in Chicago, and can be found on the IDPH website’s testing locator page.
The CDC authorized two new bivalent booster vaccines on September 1 that include an mRNA component of the original strain to provide an immune response that is broadly protective against COVID-19 and an added mRNA component in common between the omicron variant BA.4 and BA.5 lineages to provide better protection against COVID-19 caused by the omicron variant.
The updated boosters are available at pharmacies, hospitals, and other healthcare providers. The best way to locate a vaccine provider near you is to visit www.vaccines.gov and search for bivalent booster availability.
Currently, IDPH is reporting a total of 3,906,801 cases, including 35,550 deaths, in 102 counties in Illinois since the beginning of the pandemic.
As of last night, 1,582 individuals in Illinois were reported to be in the hospital with COVID-19. Of those, 188 patients were in the ICU and 69 patients with COVID-19 were on ventilators. The preliminary seven-day statewide case rate is 168 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 Illinoisans.
IDPH has been supporting pharmacies and healthcare providers in efforts to increase their inventories of the various FDA-authorized treatments. There are over 1,200 treatment locations in Illinois – including all the major retail pharmacies. More than 96.7% of the state’s population is within a 10-mile radius of one of these locations.