Less Illinois counties at medium risk for COVID-19 spread, IDPH still cautious

The 42 counties in orange are now listed at high community level for COVID-19. There are also...
The 42 counties in orange are now listed at high community level for COVID-19. There are also 39 counties in yellow rated at the medium community level.(Illinois Department of Public Health)
Published: Aug. 19, 2022 at 2:11 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD (WGEM) - The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Friday 42 counties are now listed at the high community level for COVID-19 and 39 counties are rated at the medium community level. There were 48 counties labeled for medium-level spread last week.

The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 25,084 new confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases this week. The state also reported another 56 deaths during that time. 34,595 Illinoisans have died from COVID-related illness since the pandemic started.

IDPH Director Sameer Vohra continues to urge people to get up-to-date on vaccinations and booster shots to prevent hospitalization and more serious outcomes from COVID-19.

“A second booster shot is recommended for all individuals over the age of 50, four months after they have received their first booster,” Vohra stated Friday.

Vohra is also asking parents and guardians to get young children vaccinated. COVID-19 vaccines for children under 5 were recommended by the CDC on June 18.

1,434 people are currently hospitalized for COVID-19 in Illinois. 152 people are in the ICU and 56 of those patients are on ventilators.

Counties listed at the high community level include DeKalb, Jo Daviess, Kane, Kendall, Lake, Lee, Ogle, Stephenson, Whiteside, and Winnebago in northern Illinois. Adams, Alexander, Champaign, Clark, Clay, Coles, Crawford, Cumberland, Douglas, Edwards, Ford, Franklin, Gallatin, Hardin, Henderson, Jasper, Jefferson, Johnson, Lawrence, Macoupin, Mason, Massac, Montgomery, Perry, Pike, Pope, Pulaski, Richland, Saline, Wabash, Wayne, and Williamson counties across Central and Southern Illinois met the high-risk mark as well.

The CDC recommends people in areas rated at the high community level should wear well-fitted masks indoors in public, regardless of vaccination status. The organization notes that the recommendation includes masking in K-12 schools and other indoor community settings. People who are immunocompromised or at high risk for severe disease should wear a mask or respirator for greater protection and consider avoiding non-essential indoor activities in public. The CDC said those people should also have a plan for at-home testing and talk with a healthcare provider if they test positive to learn about oral antivirals and monoclonal antibodies.

Anyone in close contact with someone at high risk for severe disease is advised to consider self-testing to detect COVID-19 infection before contact. The CDC also said those people should wear a mask whenever they are inside with someone at higher risk for disease.

Elderly or immunocompromised people living in areas labeled at medium-level risk for COVID-19 should wear masks in indoor places as well. The CDC said those individuals should be up-to-date on COVID-19 vaccines and get a second booster shot if eligible.

IDPH reported 4,880 new confirmed and probable cases and 17 deaths on Friday. The case rate 7-day average is now 197 per 100,000 people.

8,924 vaccines were given over the last 24 hours. 85.1% of Illinoisans 12 and older have received at least one shot. 77.2% of those people are fully vaccinated. The 7-day rolling average for shots given is 8,023.

IDPH is still working with the Illinois Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics to educate health providers and parents about COVID-19 vaccines for younger children. They hope more people will decide to get their children vaccinated after learning about the effectiveness and safety of the authorized vaccines for youth under 5.

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