Ahead of July Fourth weekend, Illinois health officials warned of large gatherings and recommended COVID-19 vaccinations as 81 were listed at medium or high community levels for the virus.
“As we celebrate the Fourth of July this weekend, everyone should be aware that 81 counties in Illinois are rated at Medium or High Community Level for COVID-19,” said IDPH Acting Director Amaal Tokars.
“This means that people who are vulnerable to serious medical outcomes are at higher risk," she continued. "We remind holiday hosts to think of the safety of friends and family. You should hold events outdoors if possible, and in well-ventilated spaces if indoors."
Tokars added that those attending a family gathering should be up-to-date and boosted on vaccinations. She said if someone if feeling COVID symptoms, they should test or stay home.
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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 28 Illinois counties were now rated at "high" community level for COVID, an area that includes some of the counties around the Chicago metropolitan area.
An additional 53 counties throughout the state were rated at "medium community level.
The counties listed at "high" community level as of Friday were Cook, DuPage, Lake, Will, Stephenson, Winnebago, Adams, Brown, Champaign, Christian. Clark, Douglas, Logan, Macon, Marshall, Menard, Peoria, Pike, Sangamon, Schuyler, Tazewell, Franklin, Jackson, Johnson, Marion, Massac, Wayne and Williamson.
At the high level, the CDC recommends that all people in the area wear a mask indoors regardless of vaccination status. Those who are immunocompromised, the CDC suggests avoiding "non-essential indoor activities" in public places.
In the counties at medium risk level, the CDC recommends the elderly and immunocompromised wear a mask in indoor public places and receive COVID vaccinations and booster shots, if eligible.
On Friday, Illinois health officials reported 28,216 new coronavirus cases over the past week, along with 74 additional deaths, marking slight increase in cases from seven days prior.
The previous week, the state reported 27,094 new cases, 82 deaths and 20 counties at "high" community level.
The week before that, the state reported 27,112 new cases and 68 deaths were reported.
In all 3,435,405 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 34,150 confirmed COVID fatalities.
According to IDPH, the preliminary seven-day statewide case rate is 221 COVID cases per 100,000 Illinois residents.
As of midnight Thursday, 1,154 patients were hospitalized due to COVID in the state. Of those patients, 122 are in ICU beds, and 44 on ventilators.
Over the past seven days, the state’s weekly vaccination average increased to 10,793 doses, per IDPH data. Since last Friday, 75,552 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, with more than 76% receiving at least one dose. About 53% are also boosted.