Just 3 Illinois Counties at ‘High' Community Level Status as COVID-19 Numbers Improve

In the Chicago area, seven counties are at "medium" for COVID-19, while three are in the "low" category, according to the latest CDC data

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In a notable change from months past, only three of Illinois' 102 counties remain at "high" community level status, with improvements in COVID-19 case rates and other metrics occurring in recent weeks, according to the state's Department of Public Health.

As of Friday, 59 counties were ranked at an elevated community level status, specifically three in the "high" category and 53 at "medium" status - marking an improvement from a week earlier. For the week ending Jan. 6, 73 counties were at an elevated level, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

For the most recent week, Hancock County in the western portion of the state, along with Marion and Washington counties in southern Illinois, were listed at "high" status. In the Chicago area, seven counties are at "medium" for COVID-19, while three are in the "low" category.

The following counties were listed at "medium" status: Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Kendall, Lake, McHenry and Kane counties. LaSalle, Grundy and Will counties were all ranked at "low," data revealed.

In a news release, IDPH Director Dr. Sameer Vohra, explained he was encouraged to see community levels declining once again and hospital capacity remaining stable. According to the most recent IDPH data, improvements in case rates have also occurred.

As of Jan. 1, 127.8 COVID-19 cases were reported per 100,000 population, marking a 9.9% increase from a week prior, when 141.8 cases were reported per 100,000 people. The week before that, which ended Dec. 18, 179.1 cases were reported per 100,000 population, according to IDPH data.

Despite the more contagious "Kraken" variant rapidly spreading in the Northeast, Illinois isn't seeing nearly as many cases. Still, health officials are keeping a watchful eye on the strain's spread.

"Although we are currently seeing low rates in Illinois at about 8% of clinical samples, it is important for all of us to prepare for and be aware of this emerging variant," Vohra stated.

As of Thursday night, 1,395 individuals were said to be in the hospital with COVID-19 in Illinois. Of those people, 169 patients were in the ICU and 62 were on ventilators, according to IDPH.

With several Chicago-area counties at "medium" status, precautions are advised for the elderly and immunocompromised in such areas. Individuals in both groups are encouraged to wear a mask in indoor public spaces and get up-to-date on COVID-19 vaccines and receive the bivalent booster shot, if eligible.

In the three Illinois counties at "high" status, everyone is encouraged to wear masks in public - regardless of vaccination status. Those who are immunocompromised or at high risk for severe disease should wear a mask or respirator that provides greater protecting, consider avoiding non-essential indoor activities and talk to your health care provider about if you should take other precautions, IDPH stated.

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