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Illinois Department of Public Health Warns of High COVID Circulation

As Illinois experiences a significant increase in respiratory illness levels, transitioning from Moderate to High in the past week, the Illinois Department of Public Health issues a critical reminder. More than half of the state's counties are now reporting elevated COVID-19 hospitalizations.


The CDC's national COVID Data Tracker highlights alarming statistics, with 61 Illinois counties at either High or Medium levels for COVID-19 hospital admissions. There has been a 7.7% increase in new COVID-19 hospitalizations statewide, totaling 1,381 cases. However, only approximately 24% of adult Illinoisans are up to date on their COVID-19 vaccines.


Emphasizing the prevalence of seasonal respiratory viruses, including COVID-19, flu, and RSV, the IDPH urges the public to stay informed and follow health guidelines. Flu activity is surging to pre-COVID-19 levels, with two confirmed pediatric influenza deaths and an ongoing investigation into a potential third death with a December onset.


Dr. Sameer Vohra, Director of IDPH, appeals to all Illinoisians, especially the vulnerable, to stay informed and utilize preventive tools. These include vaccination against COVID-19, flu, RSV, and pneumonia.


The public is advised to stay home if experiencing respiratory illness symptoms, wear masks in crowded areas, improve indoor air ventilation, and practice hand hygiene. IDPH underscores the effectiveness of updated COVID-19 shots against current variants and recommends flu and RSV vaccines for eligible individuals, particularly the elderly and pregnant people.


In response to the surge, IDPH has launched an Infectious Respiratory Disease Surveillance Dashboard for weekly updates. Additionally, the 'Tis the Sneezin' campaign promotes vaccinations as the best defense against COVID-19, flu, and RSV.


IDPH also facilitates access to testing and vaccination. Every U.S. household is eligible for four free at-home tests through COVID.gov, and a single swab triple-test for Flu/RSV and COVID-19 is offered at no cost to high-risk congregate care settings. Uninsured or underinsured individuals can access CDC programs covering vaccination costs.


As the situation intensifies, the IDPH emphasizes the critical need for the public to prioritize their health, adhere to guidelines, and get vaccinated to mitigate the impact of respiratory illnesses in the community.

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