CHICAGO (WMBD) — The Illinois Department of Public Health announced in a press release Friday that a majority of Illinois’ 102 counties are now at a low community risk level for the spread of COVID-19.
IDPH reported that the CDC has designated 14 counties in Illinois as a medium level of COVID-19, up from 5 counties last week. One county is at a high community level.
“We are seeing a slight increase in COVID-19 community levels this week,” Director Vohra said. “However, as COVID-19 community levels are relatively low and the State of Illinois plans for the end of the statewide disaster declaration in May, IDPH remains dedicated to staying vigilant and protecting the most vulnerable Illinoisians. This is why we are excited to announce the launch of the new STATeam. This innovative new program will provide additional layers of support for our local health departments and long term care facilities, protecting our most at-risk residents and keeping them safe from COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses.”
According to their press release, IDPH is reporting 10,234 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 between Jan. 30 and Feb. 5. There have been 62 COVID-19 deaths in the same time frame.
Only Richland County is at a high community level. Central Illinois counties remain at a low community level of COVID-19.
As of Thursday night, 834 individuals in Illinois were reported to be hospitalized with COVID-19. 100 were in the ICU and 34 were on ventilators.
A press release from IDPH noted 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.