CHICAGO, Ill. (WMBD)– The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) announced that the CDC is reporting 26 Illinois counties are at medium community level for COVID-19 this week.

This is compared to 14 from last week. No counties were reported at a high level, compared to four from the previous week.

IDPH Director Dr. Sameer Vohra warned that cases of group A strep throat leading to severe complications are on the rise in Illinois, with more cases reported in 2023 than in any of the past five years.

As COVID-19 cases and community levels remain stable, I want to share my concern about the growing number of strep throat cases in Illinois that are leading to severe complications,” Director Vohra said. “These cases, known as invasive Group A strep, are the result of disease spreading from the throat to blood, muscle and lungs. I urge parents to contact their health providers when their children start showing early symptoms. These symptoms include sudden onset of sore throat, pain when swallowing and fever. Early detection is critical as strep can be diagnosed with a simple test and treated with antibiotics. If able, please make sure everyone in the house is up to date with flu and chickenpox vaccines. Having either the flu or chickenpox can increase your risk of contracting invasive Group A strep.

IDPH Director Dr. Sameer Vohra

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.