Suburban Cook County is now in a "medium" risk level for COVID transmission, according to the area health officials.
The Cook County Department of Public Health issued an alert Friday afternoon saying "an increase in the number of positive cases" lifted the county to the second-highest risk level, as designated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Though the county was not listed on the CDC's most recent county-by-county transmission risk update, CCDPH said its metrics as of Thursday indicate suburban portions are under the "medium" risk level. The county on Thursday reported 210 cases per 100,000 residents in the last seven days.
The designation means elderly or immunocompromised individuals are urged to wear masks in public indoor spaces, but health officials now recommend residents:
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- wear a mask indoors to protect those at high risk for severe illness from a COVID infection including adults over the age of 50, those with underlying medical conditions, and the immunocompromised
- socialize outdoors if possible and avoiding poorly ventilated indoor settings
- get tested before attending a family or public event. Home tests are ideal for this purpose
- contact your doctor right away to get treatment for COVID if you are diagnosed
- get any COVID-19 vaccine boosters that you are eligible for
According to the CDC's latest update Friday, two other Chicago-area counties were also under the medium risk category.
Lake County was added this week and DuPage County rose to the level last week and remained there once more this week.
In addition to DuPage and Lake counties, Champaign, McLean and Logan counties in Illinois are also listed under the CDC's "medium" transmission risk level.
The rest of Illinois remained at a low level, according to the CDC.
In places with low community transmission, residents are encouraged to stay up to date with COVID vaccines and boosters, and maintained improved ventilation throughout indoor spaces when possible.
As of Friday, no communities were said to be experiencing high transmission.
Counties that do reach a high community level are urged to reinstate mask-wearing for all individuals indoors regardless of vaccination status and to consider avoiding non-essential indoor activities.
Illinois health officials reported 24,646 new COVID-19 cases over the past week, along with 46 additional deaths. That's an increase in cases, but a decrease in deaths from this time last week.