February 25, 2024
Coronavirus

IDPH: 2 counties at ‘medium’ COVID-19 risk; new weekly low for deaths reported

IDPH recommends second bivalent booster for 65 and older and immunocompromised

The latest COVID-19 levels for Illinois as of Friday, April 21, 2023

The Illinois Department of Public Health announced the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is reporting two counties in the state are at an elevated community level for COVID-19, compared with six the previous week. Of those, zero counties are at “high” risk for COVID-19, the same as the week before; and two counties are at “medium” risk, compared with six last week.

The counties at medium risk in Illinois are: Kankakee and Iroquois.

In counties at medium risk, persons who are elderly or immunocompromised (at risk of severe outcomes) 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.

Both IDPH and the Illinois Department on Aging have endorsed action this week by both the FDA and the CDC to simplify their recommendations for COVID-19 vaccinations. The two federal agencies approved an optional additional updated bivalent vaccine dose for adults ages 65 years and older and optional additional doses for people who are immunocompromised. The bivalent booster is designed to offer better protection against newer strains of the virus.

On April 19, the CDC recommended a second bivalent booster for those who are 65 and older if it has been at least four months since their first bivalent booster. For those who are immunocompromised, they are eligible for a second bivalent booster if it has been at least two months since their first bivalent booster.

“The FDA and CDC’s decision to approve a second COVID-19 booster this week demonstrates the real risk that this illness continues to pose for specific groups,” IDPH Director Dr. Sameer Vohra said in a news release. “Although Illinois overall continues to have low COVID-19 community levels, the virus is still circulating and causing hospitalizations. Vaccines remain the best tool to prevent serious illness. I encourage those individuals who are over 65 or immunocompromised to speak with their health care provider about the benefits of this additional COVID-19 booster.”

The IDPH has recorded a total of 4,127,625 cases and 36,735 deaths, in 102 counties in Illinois since the beginning of the pandemic. The department is reporting 5,278 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Illinois in the week ending April 9, and 9 deaths.

A total of 26,138,116 vaccines have been administered in Illinois as of Friday. The seven-day rolling average of vaccines administered daily is 2,458 doses, including the bivalent booster and first doses. Since April 14, 17,205 vaccine doses were reported administered in Illinois. Of Illinois’ total population, more than 79% have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose, more than 71% have completed their primary series of COVID-19 vaccines, and more than 20% have received the bivalent booster dose, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

As of Thursday night, 558 individuals in Illinois were reported to be in the hospital with COVID-19. Of those, 65 patients were in the ICU and 22 patients with COVID-19 were on ventilators. The preliminary seven-day statewide case rate is 44 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 Illinoisans.

Weekly case rate per 100,000: 41.4

Percentage of ICU beds available: 20%

COVID-19-diagnosed hospital admissions (seven-day rolling average): 56 (Down 3 from a week ago)

Weekly deaths reported: 9 (Down 7 from the previous week; lowest weekly total since the pandemic started in 2020)

“The FDA and CDC’s decision to approve a second COVID-19 booster this week demonstrates the real risk that this illness continues to pose for specific groups”

—  IDPH Director Dr. Sameer Vohra
John Sahly

John Sahly

John Sahly is the digital editor for the Shaw Local News Network. He has been with Shaw Media since 2008, previously serving as the Northwest Herald's digital editor, and the Daily Chronicle sports editor and sports reporter.