March 01, 2024

IDPH: COVID-19 rising, 20 counties up to medium level; RSV and flu also increasing

Lee and Ogle counties are 2 of the 20 statewide counties up to medium level of COVID-19 activity

COVID-19 hospitalization rates as of November 22, 2023

COVID-19 hospitalizations are rising in Illinois; up 17% week-over-week according to a news release from the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Twenty counties in Illinois are listed at a medium level for hospitalizations according to the CDC’s national COVID Data Tracker as of the week ending Nov. 11. A medium level of COVID-19 activity is defined as 10.0 to 19.9 new COVID-19 hospital admissions per 100,000 people in the past week.

Across the state, 740 hospitalizations were recorded. The uptick in COVID-19 hospitalizations comes as hospital data also shows increases in flu and RSV.

Across the Shaw Local News Network area, two counties are included in the 20: Ogle and Lee counties. Other nearby counties now showing a medium level of COVID-19 activity include: Boone, Winnebago, Kankakee, Marshall and Peoria counties.

The percentage of total emergency department visits for COVID-19, flu and RSV combined in Illinois was over 3% for the week ending November 11, according to the CDC. It’s the first time over 3% since the week ending Jan. 14, 2023. The highest that number has been in the past year was the week ending Nov. 26, 2022, when total emergency department visits for the three respiratory illnesses hit 13.9%.

“As hospitalizations for COVID-19, RSV, and flu increase across Illinois, I want to encourage our residents to use all of the tools at their disposal to protect themselves and their loved ones this Thanksgiving Holiday weekend,” IDPH Director Dr. Sameer Vohra said in a news release. “Vaccines for COVID-19, flu and RSV remain the most effective tool in preventing severe illness, but we can all take proper precautions to enjoy family, food, and fun while keeping those germs away.”

The IDPH also is encouraging all health care settings to consider masking in patient care areas especially if caring for those with weakened immune systems as both RSV and COVID-19 are rising. Per CDC recommendations: Universal masking should be considered facility-wide or, based on a facility risk assessment, targeted toward higher risk areas (e.g., emergency departments, urgent care) or patient populations (e.g., when caring for patients with moderate to severe immunocompromise) during periods of higher levels of community COVID-19 or other respiratory virus transmission.

The federal government announced that as of Nov. 20, every household in the U.S. is eligible to receive four free at-home tests through the website.

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.