IDPH reports 23,334 new COVID-19 cases, 82 deaths over past week
QUINCY (WGEM) - The Illinois Department of Public Health reported Friday that there were 23,334 new confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases since Dec. 9. The state also reported another 82 deaths during that time. 35,632 Illinoisans have died from COVID-related illness since the pandemic started.
IDPH and the CDC also reported that there are now 86 counties at an elevated risk for COVID-19. The CDC said there are 43 counties listed at the high community level in orange and 43 counties rated for medium-level risk in yellow. The state reported 29 counties at the high community level and 45 counties at the medium community level last week. IDPH officials are urging Illinoisans to protect themselves and their loved ones during the holiday season by getting fully vaccinated for COVID-19 and the flu.
“Illinois continues to see a dramatic rise in communities at elevated risk levels for COVID-19, including 43 counties that are now at high risk,” said IDPH Director Dr. Sameer Vohra. “As we prepare for holiday gatherings with our loved ones, I want to remind Illinoisans that these elevated COVID-19 community levels, along with rising flu levels, are leading to a surge of respiratory infections, increased hospitalizations, and limited hospital beds. I strongly recommend all Illinoisans take preventative steps to protect themselves and their family and friends, especially those most vulnerable including young children and individuals over 65.”
Dr. Vohra noted that the COVID-19 bivalent booster is now authorized for children six months and older. The department said people should stay home and consult healthcare providers if they are sick. High-quality masks or respirators are also recommended to protect people from COVID-19, the flu, and other respiratory viruses.
“Our hope is for Illinoisans across our state to have a happy and healthy holiday season,” Vohra added.
Vohra noted that anyone testing positive for COVID-19 should contact their healthcare provider immediately to discuss whether they need treatment. Paxlovid, Lagverio, and Remdesivir have been found to work against the current strains of the virus.
The case rate 7-day average is now 183 per 100,000 people. 1,712 people are hospitalized for COVID-19 in Illinois. 211 people are in the ICU and 63 of those patients are on ventilators.
DeKalb, Lee, Kankakee, Whiteside, and Winnebago Counties in Northern Illinois are labeled at the high community level. High-risk counties in Central Illinois include Adams, Brown, Calhoun, Cass, Champaign, Christian, Clay, Coles, Douglas, Edgar, Ford, Fulton, Jasper, Knox, Logan, Macon, Marshall, Mason, Menard, Peoria, Piatt, Pike, Richland, Scott, Shelby, Tazewell, Vermillion, and Warren. Edwards, Gallatin, Hardin, Johnson, Massac, Randolph, Saline, Wabash, and Williamson Counties in Southern Illinois are also at the high community level for COVID-19.
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 data indicated that the risk of hospitalization and severe outcomes from COVID-19 is much higher for unvaccinated people than for people who are up to date on their vaccinations.
The state continues to work with pharmacies and healthcare providers to increase the inventory of various FDA-authorized treatments. IDPH reported there are over 1,200 treatment locations across the state, including all major retail pharmacies. More than 96.7% of the state’s population is within a 10-mile radius of one of these locations.
More than 2 million people in Illinois have received a dose of the bivalent COVID-19 booster shots since they were authorized in early September. The seven-day rolling average of vaccines administered daily is 15,174 doses, including the bivalent booster and first doses.
15,342 vaccines were given over the last 24 hours. 86.7% of Illinoisans 12 and older have received at least one shot. 78.4% of those people are fully vaccinated.
The CDC authorized the updated COVID-19 bivalent vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech for children ages 5 to 11 on Oct. 12. Bivalent vaccines from Moderna were also authorized for children and young adults 6 to 17 on the same day. The CDC expanded its authorization for bivalent boosters to include children 6 months and older on Dec. 9. Younger children who previously completed a Modeterna primary series can now receive a Moderna bivalent booster two months after their final primary series dose. Meanwhile, young children who previously received Pfizer vaccines will get a Pfizer bivalent booster as their third primary dose. Doctors, parents, and guardians can find resources from the Illinois Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics by clicking here.
The updated booster shots are available at pharmacies, hospitals, and other healthcare providers. You can look for a vaccine provider near you by clicking here and searching for bivalent booster availability.
IDPH is also distributing 1 million COVID-19 rapid antigen tests to 200,000 families in economically disadvantaged zip codes outside of Chicago. The effort was made possible through a partnership with the Rockefeller Foundation’s public charity and its Project ACT (Access COVID Tests) program. People can find out if they live in an eligible zip code and request a package of five tests at the Project ACT website. The COVID-19 tests will be available on a first-come-first-serve basis and will be delivered to the home address applicants use.
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