CHICAGO — The Illinois Department of Public Health announced in a press release Friday that 74 out of 102 counties have now dropped to a low community risk for COVID-19.
IDPH reported that the CDC has designated only 28 counties in Illinois to either medium or high levels of COVID-19, down from 61 counties last week. This week, only three counties are at a high community level and 25 are at a medium level.
According to their press release, IDPH is reporting 10,967 new confirmed and probably cases of COVID-19 between Jan. 9 and Jan. 15. There have been 78 COVID-19 deaths in the same time frame.
Central Illinois counties have dropped down to a low community level of COVID-19.
“I am encouraged to see COVID-19 community levels continuing to decrease across Illinois,” said IDPH Director Dr. Sameer Vohra. “Rates of the XBB ‘Kraken’ variant, spreading throughout the East Coast, are slowly increasing in the Midwest, and we continue to monitor this new variant closely. However, we are fortunate at this time to see no increase in hospitalizations. IDPH is continuing to focus our efforts on preserving hospital capacity and protecting those Illinois residents most at risk for severe disease from COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses.”
Dr. Vohra and IDPH also reminded residents that bivalent COVID-19 boosters have been authorized for use in all individuals aged six months and older.
The two new bivalent booster vaccines 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.
Dr. Vohra also noted that 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.
Through Project ACT, IDPH will be distributing one million at-home antigen tests to 200,000 Illinois families in zip codes outside the City of Chicago that are rated high on a Social Vulnerability Index (SVI). Households can find out if they are in an eligible zip code and request one package of five tests on a first-come-first-serve basis at the Project ACT website. The tests will be delivered to the home address.
The federal government is also distributing free COVID-19 tests via their website.
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.