December 10, 2023
Coronavirus

IDPH reports rising COVID-19, according to wastewater data

A pedestrian wearing a protective mask as a precaution against the spread of the coronavirus walks in Philadelphia, Friday, April 22, 2022.  The city abandoned its indoor mask mandate Friday, just days after becoming the first U.S. metropolis to reimpose compulsory masking in response to an increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

The Illinois Department of Public Health announced the CDC is reporting all 102 Illinois counties remained at a low level for COVID-19 hospital admissions as of the middle of August, though wastewater surveillance is detecting rising Covid-19 activity. IDPH is continuing to closely watch COVID-19 data and also monitoring other respiratory viruses, particularly flu and RSV, ahead of the fall and winter seasons.

“Although hospitalization rates and deaths from COVID-19 remain low, it is important for our residents to know that we are seeing rising COVID-19 activity across Illinois,” IDPH Director Dr. Sameer Vohra said in a news release. “We are fortunate the vast majority of Illinoisians have received immunity from a COVID-19 vaccine or previous infection that protects them against severe disease. However, COVID-19 continues to pose a risk for our seniors, individuals with chronic medical conditions, and those who are immunocompromised. IDPH is closely monitoring COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths, emerging variants, and a broad range of respiratory illnesses including flu and RSV. As we approach the fall, our residents will have access to a number of tools, including updated shots and treatments, that can help us avoid another ‘tripledemic.’ Please contact your primary care provider to learn about the options available to protect you and your loved ones this upcoming respiratory season.”

Vohra said that the Illinois Wastewater Surveillance System is indicating moderate COVID activity across all sampling regions in Illinois. The system is designed to monitor for levels of COVID-19, flu and RSV viruses in wastewater at 79 locations across Illinois. Flu and RSV activity remain low in the wastewater across all regions.

With the U.S. marking National Immunization Awareness Month in August, IDPH encourages Illinoisans to follow recommendations from public health authorities on COVID-19 and the flu as well as the recently authorized RSV vaccine for adults who are 60 and older and more vulnerable to severe illness. Federal authorities have also approved a new preventive medication for RSV for all children up to 8 months and for some high-risk children older than 8 months.

The CDC is expected to issue guidance in September about the newly developed COVID-19 boosters for fall.

Illinois has more than 200,000 courses of effective therapeutic medications, including Paxlovid and Molnupiravir, available through providers and pharmacies that will continue to be provided free of charge until supplies run out.

Shaw Local News Network

Shaw Local News Network

Shaw Local News Network provides local news throughout northern Illinois