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Illinois Public Health Department (IDPH) Reports an Uptick in COVID-19 Cases

IDPH Urges Illinoisans Full Vaccinations to Protect Against COVID-19 and the Flu Leading-up to the Christmas Season; Illinois Reports 13,642 New Cases of COVID-19 Over the Past Week

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) has today announced an increase in counties with high levels of COVID-19. The bivalent COVID-19 booster shots give additional protection from the most prevalent variants, known as COVID-19, also known as the Omicron variant. IDPH Director Dr. Sameer Vohra urges Illinoisans to be fully protected by the bivalent shots and the flu vaccine before the holidays.

The CDC has released its data that shows 38 counties across Illinois are classified as having an elevated community level for COVID-19, an increase from 26 counties in the previous week. They ranked five counties as high levels and 33 are in medium. Peoria, Tazewell, Fulton, Mason, Marshall, and Knox Counties are all at medium risk levels in Central Illinois.

IDPH is reporting 13,642 newly likely and confirmed cases of COVID-19 across Illinois, along with 67 fatalities as of October 21.

"As the weather is getting colder and Halloween is nearly upon us, Illinois and much of the nation are seeing a notable increase in individuals getting sick from respiratory viruses, including the flu, RSV and once again COVID-19," said IDPH Director Dr. Sameer Vohra. "This uptick makes it critically important for everyone to use the tools that are available to protect yourself and your family. Vaccines remain the most powerful tool to prevent serious illness. If you have not gotten the COVID-19 booster and a flu shot for yourself and your eligible children, now is a great time. I recommend everyone in Illinois get fully protected. And if you are feeling sick, please stay home, get tested, and call your doctor for help. I encourage all Illinoisians to do all they can to stay safe and healthy as the holiday season approaches."

Director Vohra recently received his COVID-19 booster shots, and his flu shot simultaneously. He also urged fellow Illinoisans to follow suit to ensure maximum protection during the cold winter.

Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Sameer Vohra receives a Covid booster shot from Angela Clark, RN, the head nurse at the East Side Health District in East St. Louis, on Friday.  IDPH Photo
Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Sameer Vohra receives a Covid booster shot from Angela Clark, RN, the head nurse at the East Side Health District in East St. Louis, on Friday. IDPH Photo

IDPH works with the Illinois Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (ICAAP) to help parents and doctors protect children from COVID-19 and the flu. ICAAP offers the resources needed by doctors and parents here.

IDPH announced that in the past week, an average of over 26,000 doses of the latest bivalent vaccines were administered daily across the state. The increase in vaccinations is over three times the daily average for all vaccines throughout the summer.

The CDC approved two bivalent booster vaccinations on September 1, including an mRNA component from the original strain that provides an immune response protective against COVID-19. It also includes an additional mRNA component that is common between the variants of the omicron BA.4 and the BA.5 BA.5 lineages to offer better protection against COVID-19 caused by the Omicron variant.

In the beginning, the Moderna COVID-19 Bivalent vaccine was approved as a single-dose booster for individuals aged 18 years or older. Likewise, the Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 Bivalent vaccine was a single-dose booster for people 12 years old and over. On October 12, the CDC approved the new COVID-19 vaccines by Pfizer-BioNTech, for children aged 5 to 11 years old and Moderna for adolescents and children aged 6 to 17.

The latest boosters are available at hospitals, pharmacies, and other healthcare facilities. The most effective way to find an authorized vaccine supplier near you is to go to www.vaccines.gov to search for available bivalent boosters.

IDPH is reporting 3,809,680 instances with 35,235 deaths across 102 counties of Illinois from the time of the onset of this pandemic.

On the night of October 27, 1,080 patients in Illinois were identified as being in the hospital with COVID-19. Of these, 129 were admitted to the ICU, and 48 patients suffering from COVID-19 were placed on ventilators. The initial rate for statewide cases over seven days is 107 cases of COVID-19 for every 100,000 Illinoisans.

The CDC recommends the following actions for those living who live in areas rated at a High Community Level for COVID-19 transmission:

  • Wear a properly fitting mask indoors at all times regardless of your vaccination status (including at K-12 schools and other indoor settings for the community.)

  • If you have an immune-compromised condition or have a weakened immune system, you are at high risk of severe illness

  • Use a respirator or mask that offers more protection

  • Consider avoiding activities that are not essential in public places where you might be exposed

  • Discuss with your doctor whether you should take other precautions

  • Plan for quick testing should you need to (e.g., using a home test or having access to testing)

  • If you have a positive test, speak with your doctor to determine if you're eligible for treatment options such as monoclonal and oral antivirals

  • If you have a household or social connection with someone, and you are at High for serious illness, consider

  • Testing yourself for infections before contact

  • Wearing a mask if you are indoors with them

  • Keep up-to-date with COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters

  • Improve ventilation in the indoor space whenever possible

  • Follow CDC guidelines regarding isolation and quarantine, and testing for COVID-19 when exposed to COVID-19 or have signs of COVID-19.

In counties at the Medium Community Level, persons over the age of 65 or immunocompromised (at the risk of having severe consequences) should wear masks in indoor public spaces. They must also be current on COVID-19 vaccinations or receive their bivalent booster should they be eligible.

There are over 1,200 treatment facilities in Illinois, including all major retail pharmacies. More than 96.7 percent of the state's population lives within a 10-mile distance of one of these sites. IDPH has helped healthcare and pharmacies expand their stock of various FDA-approved therapies.

24661,690 vaccines were administered in Illinois. The average number of vaccines given daily is 27,509, including the bivalent booster and the initial doses. Since October 21, 192.566 amounts have been shown in Illinois. More than 1.2 million residents living in Illinois have been vaccinated with the latest double-dose booster since it was approved. Of Illinois's total population, over 78% have taken at least one COVID-19 dose. More than 70 percent have completed their initial series of COVID-19 vaccinations, and over five percent of Illinois' vaccination population received an initial booster, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention information.

The data shows that the risk of hospitalization and severe consequences from COVID-19 is significantly greater for those who have not been vaccinated than those who are up with their vaccinations. The information is provisional and susceptible to changes. You can find additional information and COVID-19 data at https://dph.illinois.gov/covid19.html.

The importance of vaccination is stopping this epidemic. The federal government has established a new website that provides an all-purpose toolkit with information on obtaining masks, treatment, vaccines, and testing resources for all areas of the country at: https://www.covid.gov/. For a COVID-19 vaccination site near you, visit www.vaccines.gov.

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