coronavirus illinois

IDPH Urges Community to Get Vaccinated as Updated COVID Booster Prepares for Roll Out

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Illinois residents may be able to get their hands on an extra COVID booster within the next couple of days, and health officials are encouraging those who are eligible to act fast.

The new vaccine, which is formulated to fight back against omicron variants of the disease, garnered the approval of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration just in time for the fall.

“Once the updated booster shots become available next week, I urge everyone in Illinois who is eligible to take advantage of the opportunity to get fully protected before we enter the fall season,” IDPH Director Dr. Sameer Vohra said in statement Friday. “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 now is especially important for those who are at risk of serious outcomes, as the updated vaccines offer protection from hospitalization and even death.”

Dr. Allison Arwady, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, echoed similar sentiments earlier, urging residents to sign up for COVID boosters as soon as the new omicron-specific vaccines become available.

A trend of increased COVID cases and hospitalizations has been a defining characteristic of the past two winters, and the possibility of another surge continues to loom.

But Arwady said the omicron-specific shots this year give the city and state a “great opportunity” to stem the tide on any potential surges. She also added that it is possible a new booster shot, formulated to target specific variants, could be the new norm for COVID.

Over the past week, Illinois health officials reported 26,127 new COVID cases, along with 70 additional deaths, marking a slight increase in cases from a week prior, as 30 counties within the state remain at a "high" community level for the virus.

The previous week, Illinois reported 24,297 new cases and 82 deaths. The week before that, 25,084 new cases and 56 deaths were reported.

In all, 3,696,385 cases of coronavirus have occurred in the state since the pandemic began, according to the latest data from the Illinois Department of Public Health. The additional deaths bring Illinois to 34,747 confirmed COVID fatalities.

According to IDPH, the preliminary seven-day statewide case rate is 205 COVID cases per 100,000 Illinois residents, an increase from the 191 cases per 100,000 residents reported a week prior.

As of midnight Thursday, 1,263 patients were hospitalized due to COVID in the state, down from last week's 1,310 patients. Of the current patients, 154 are in ICU beds, and 46 on ventilators.

Over the past seven days, the state’s weekly vaccination average dropped to 5,397 doses from 6,728 the previous week, per IDPH data. Since last Friday, 37,778 doses were administered across the state.

More than 23 million vaccine doses have been given in Illinois since vaccinations began in December 2020. More than 69% of Illinois residents are fully vaccinated against COVID, with more than 77% receiving at least one dose. About 54% are also boosted.

As of Friday, the following Illinois counties were at "high" community level risk for COVID: Adams, Champaign, Clark, Coles, Crawford, Douglas, Edgar, Ford, Franklin, Fulton, Grundy, Jackson, Jefferson, Johnson, Knox, Lawrence, Lee, Macon, Massac, Perry, Pike, Shelby, Stephenson, Vermilion, Wabash, Wayne, Whiteside, Will, Williamson and Winnebago.

At the "high" level, the CDC recommends that all people in the area wear a mask indoors regardless of vaccination status. For those who are immunocompromised, the CDC suggests avoiding "non-essential indoor activities" in public places.

According to CDC data, an additional 60 counties in Illinois are now rated at the "medium" community level.

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.

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