Illinois continues to wrestle with COVID-19, with 28 counties remaining at a “high” community level of the virus, according to the latest data released Friday by Illinois health officials.
Portions of northwest Illinois, including Carroll, Jo Daviess, Ogle, Dekalb, Lee and Whiteside, fall into the "high" community level category.
A couple western counties are also at a "high" level of virus activity: Adams and Pike.
More "high" community levels were detected in eastern parts of the state, with Champaign, Douglas, Clark, Crawford, Lawrence and Wabash.
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Chunks of southern Illinois round out the counties at "high" levels. The counties include, Fayette, Marion, Wayne, Jefferson, Perry, Franklin, Jackson, Johnson, Massac, Hardin, Saline, Gallatin, Coles and Williamson.
Counties at a “high” community level are seeing elevated levels of COVID-19 hospitalizations, percentages of staffed beds being taken up by virus patients, or dramatic increases in overall case numbers.
Residents in those counties are advised to take precautions against the virus, including wearing masks in indoor spaces and staying away from large gatherings if they are immunocompromised or have other common risk factors for severe illness if they contract COVID-19.
The numbers paint a declining trend in cases, as 30 counties remained at "high" community levels for the virus last week.
Officials reported 19,933 new COVID-19 cases over the past week, along with 64 additional deaths, marking a decrease in cases from a week prior.
The previous week, Illinois reported 26,127 new cases and 70 deaths. The week before that, 24,297 new cases and 82 deaths were reported.
As of midnight Thursday, 1,314 patients were hospitalized due to COVID-19 in the state, up from last week's 1,263 patients. Of the current patients, 163 are in ICU beds, and 48 on ventilators.
The latest numbers come as reformulated vaccines that target the latest omicron subvariants, BA.4 and BA.5, began across the state.
“Vaccines continue to be the most effective tools for preventing the most severe symptoms of COVID-19,” IDPH Director Dr. Sameer Vohra said. “The new booster shots, now available, are the latest, most advanced tool to keep Illinois residents safe and protected. These new bivalent vaccines are designed to offer extra protection against the omicron variants which are now the dominant strain of the virus. Getting up to date is especially important for those who are most at risk of serious outcomes. We encourage everyone who is eligible to get up to date with these new boosters as soon as possible.”