Residents Urged to get COVID-19 Bivalent Booster and Stay Home and Seek Treatment Immediately if Sick: IDPH Reports 86 Illinois Counties are at an Elevated Community Level for COVID-19
With the holiday season underway and COVID-19 and other respiratory viruses continuing to rise across the state, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is urging Illinoisans to take action to protect themselves and their loved ones during the festive season. IDPH Director Dr. Sameer Vohra is reminding the public that basic health precautions are especially important when it comes to protecting members of the family who are most vulnerable to severe outcome, including older family members and the very young. He strongly urges parents to take advantage of the newly authorized bivalent boosters for children six months and older. The best way to locate a vaccine provider near you is to visit www.vaccines.gov and search for bivalent booster availability. Skokie HHS also offers the bivalent booster at clinics located at Village Hall. Visit www.skokie.org to schedule an appointment.
According to the CDC, 86 counties in Illinois rated at an elevated level for COVID-19 by the CDC during the week of December 19, up from 74 the previous week week. Of those, the CDC reported 43 Illinois counties at a High Community Level for COVID-19, with new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Illinois as well as COVID-19-related deaths.
Those who test positive for COVID-19 should immediately contact their healthcare provider to discuss whether they need treatment with one of the effective antiviral medications, Paxlovid, Lagverio and Remdesivir. All of these have been found to work against the current strains of the virus.
Access to tests and treatments can be found at the following test to treat site or by contacting your provider for treatment options, within 5 days of feeling ill.
Free or low cost COVID-19 testing locations are also available throughout the state, including in Chicago, and can be found on the IDPH website’s testing locator page.
The CDC authorized two new bivalent booster vaccines on September 1 that include an mRNA component of the original strain to provide an immune response that is broadly protective against COVID-19 and an added mRNA component in common between the omicron variant BA.4 and BA.5 lineages to provide better protection against COVID-19 caused by the omicron variant. The updated boosters are available at pharmacies, hospitals, and other healthcare providers.