IDPH flags 9 Illinois counties at a high community level for COVID-19 – Decatur Tribune
Public health officials this week launched the distribution of HEPA air purifiers in Illinois schools to help reduce the transmission of respiratory viruses
CHICAGO – The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) today announced that the CDC is reporting nine counties in the state are at a high community level for COVID-19 this week, up from 26 a year ago. week. Of these, eight are at medium community level, up from 26 last week; and one county is at the high community level, up from none last week.
IDPH has recorded a total of 4,092,258 cases and 36,494 deaths, across 102 Illinois counties since the start of the pandemic. The department is reporting 8,966 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Illinois in the week ending March 12 and 63 deaths.
This week, IDPH also announced that it was working with the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) to distribute High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) air purifiers to nearly 3,000 schools across the state to protect students and school staff by reducing the transmission of respiratory viruses, including COVID-19. The $30 million program is funded by the CDC.
“I am very pleased to work with our partners at ISBE to help improve air quality in Illinois classrooms,” said IDPH Director Dr. Sameer Vohra. “Data over the past three years has shown us the critical importance of good ventilation in protecting children and adults from respiratory illnesses. These HEPA air purifiers are an important investment for our children. They will keep children in good health and in school, providing more opportunities for learning and success.
IDPH also urges the public to seek prompt treatment for COVID-19 if they test positive for COVID-19. The treatment is widely available, and IDPH recently announced that SIU Medicine has made it easier to get care by offering a new telehealth testing service to treat COVID-19, in partnership with the department. The service aims to provide faster and easier access to treatment for Illinoisans who contract COVID-19. Those who test positive are encouraged to call 217-545-5100 from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday to schedule a telehealth appointment to determine if a medical treatment is recommended. Appointments will be offered on a first come, first served basis. Additional options for getting tests and treatment can be found at the following test site to treat or by contacting your provider for treatment options, within 5 days of feeling unwell.
IDPH is helping Illinoisans prepare for any future wave of COVID-19 cases by providing 1 million free COVID-19 rapid antigen tests to Illinois residents in all zip codes outside the city of Chicago through a partnership with the Rockefeller Foundation public charity, RF Catalytic Capital and its Project ACT (Access COVID Tests) program.
Through Project ACT, IDPH is distributing up to one million home antigen tests to 200,000 Illinois homes. You can request a set of five tests on a first-come, first-served basis on the ACT Project website. The tests will be delivered to your home. Free or low-cost COVID-19 testing locations are also available statewide, including Chicago, and can be found on the Test Locations page of the IDPH website.
On September 1, the CDC licensed two new bivalent booster vaccines that include an mRNA component from the original strain to provide a broadly protective immune response against COVID-19 and a common added mRNA component between the omicron BA.4 and BA variant. 5 lines to offer better protection against COVID-19 caused by the omicron variant.
Initially, the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, bivalent, was authorized for use as a single booster dose in persons 18 years of age and older and the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, bivalent, was authorized for use as a booster dose unique among individuals 12 years and older. On October 12, the CDC authorized updated COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech for children ages 5 to 11 and from Moderna for children and adolescents ages 6 to 17.
On December 9, the CDC extended its authorization for bivalent boosters to children aged 6 months to 5 years. Children aged 6 months to 5 years who have already completed a Moderna primary series can now receive a bivalent Moderna booster 2 months after their last primary series dose. Children 6 months to 4 years of age who complete a Pfizer primary series will receive a bivalent Pfizer vaccine as the third primary dose.
Updated boosters are available from pharmacies, hospitals, and other healthcare providers. The best way to locate a vaccine supplier near you is to visit www.vaccines.gov and research the availability of bivalent boosters.
Last night, 824 people in Illinois were reportedly hospitalized with COVID-19. Of these, 107 patients were in intensive care and 36 patients with COVID-19 were on ventilators. The seven-day preliminary statewide case rate is 70 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 Illinoisans.
In mid-level community counties, the elderly or immunocompromised (at risk of serious consequences) are advised to wear a mask in indoor public places. They should also get up to date on COVID-19 vaccines or get their bivalent booster, if eligible.
IDPH supports pharmacies and health care providers in their efforts to increase their inventory of the various FDA-approved treatments. There are over 1,200 treatment centers in Illinois, including all major retail pharmacies. Over 96.7% of the state’s population is within a ten-mile radius of one of these locations. A total of 26,069,405 vaccines have been administered in Illinois to date. The rolling seven-day average of vaccines given daily is 3,398 doses, including the bivalent booster and first doses. Since March 10, 23,783 vaccine doses have been reported administered in Illinois. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The data indicates that the risk of hospitalization and serious consequences of COVID-19 is much higher for unvaccinated people than for those who are up to date with their vaccinations. All data is provisional and subject to change. Additional information and COVID-19 data is available at https://dph.illinois.gov/covid19.html. Vaccination is the key to ending this pandemic. To find a COVID-19 vaccination center near you, go to www.vaccines.gov. The federal government has created a new website that provides a versatile toolkit with information on how to get masks, treatments, vaccines, and testing resources for all parts of the country at: https ://www.covid.gov/.