Illinois health officials are encouraging COVID-19 vaccinations, booster shots and masking indoors as cases continue to rise and more counties move into heightened coronavirus risk levels.
As of Friday, 23 counties in Illinois -- including Cook, Kane, McHenry, Lake, DuPage, DeKalb, Kendall and Will counties -- were all listed under "medium" community alert level for COVID transmission by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The city of Evanston said Thursday its community COVID risk level has increased from "medium" to "high," the highest level of alert, due to rising coronavirus cases.
“While case counts are rising, we would urge the public not to be alarmed, but to be aware of this trend and to take action by making sure they are up-to-date with vaccinations and booster shots,” said Illinois Department of Public Health Acting Director Amaal Tokars. "In addition, in areas that are rated at a Medium Community Level, people who are elderly or immunocompromised are strongly advised to mask up in indoor places."
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Here's what IDPH advised residents to do at this time:
- Get vaccinated and stay up-to-date on recommended booster shots to protect yourself, your loved ones and friends.
- If you are in an area with rising COVID-19 infections, wear a mask if entering indoor spaces with other people present and consider avoiding large gatherings.
- Stick to well-ventilated areas if you are not wearing a mask indoors around other people.
- If you feel flu-like symptoms, self-isolate and stay home from work as well as social gatherings; and obtain a test as quickly as possible.
- If you test positive, talk to your provider immediately so you can get COVID-19 treatment within five days of starting to feel sick. Also, communicate about the positive result with any persons you have been in close contact within two days of falling sick or testing positive.
- Continue to frequently wash your hands and cover coughs and sneezes.
Should a person test positive for COVID, Tokars also encouraged consulting a health care provider to receive various treatments to avoid hospitalization and death.
Over the past week, Illinois reported 40,026 new COVID-19 cases, along with 45 additional deaths. While cases have increased, deaths declined by one in the last seven days.
The previous week, the state reported 30,633 new and 46 deaths. The week before that, the state reported 24,646 new cases and 46 deaths were reported.
In all, 3,209,341 cases of coronavirus have been reported in the state since the pandemic began, according to the latest data from the Illinois Department of Public Health. The additional deaths bring the state to 33,705 confirmed COVID fatalities.
Over the past seven days, the state’s weekly vaccination average dropped to 11,586 doses, per IDPH data. Since last Friday, 81,101 doses were administered across the state.
More than 22 million vaccine doses have been administered in Illinois since vaccinations began in December 2020. More than 69% of Illinois resident are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, with more than 76% receiving at least one dose. About 51% are also boosted.
As of midnight Thursday, 909 patients were hospitalized due to COVID in the state. Of those patients, 87 are in ICU beds, and 25 on ventilators.