The Illinois Department of Public Health urged Illinoisans to get fully vaccinated for COVID-19 and the flu for Thanksgiving — and to take precautions for family members who are vulnerable to contracting the virus.
Testing for COVID-19 is recommended before any gathering.
Several counties in northern Illinois have elevated risk levels of COVID-19.
Winnebago County was listed at the highest level of risk. Lee, Ogle, Marshall, Stephenson, Jo Daviess and Boone were listed as having a medium level.
In those counties, the elderly and immunocompromised are advised to wear a mask in all indoor public places.
The state reported 14,388 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in the state and 59 COVID-19 related deaths since Nov. 16.
As of Tuesday night, 1,112 individuals in Illinois were reported to be in the hospital with COVID-19. Of those, 112 patients were in the ICU and 41 patients with COVID-19 were on ventilators.
The preliminary seven-day statewide case rate is 113 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 Illinoisans.
“And as respiratory illnesses such as RSV, the flu, and COVID-19 are continuing to lead to illnesses and hospitalizations, there are a number of strategies that will keep us all healthy and safe,” said IDPH Director Sameer Vohra in a news release issued on Wednesday. “These include COVID-19 testing, especially if visiting someone at risk for severe disease; enhanced ventilation; good hand hygiene; staying home if sick; and getting up to date with both the COVID-19 bivalent booster and the flu shot.”
IDPH encourages the public to get tested before attending holiday gatherings, especially if you’ll be visiting someone at high risk for severe COVID-19; to stay home if you are sick; and practice good hand hygiene.
In addition, holiday hosts are urged to ensure gatherings are well-ventilated and to follow food safety guidelines in handling hot and cold foods to prevent food-borne illnesses.
IDPH is offering 1 million free COVID-19 rapid antigen tests to residents in economically disadvantaged zip codes through a partnership with the Rockefeller Foundation’s public charity, RF Catalytic Capital and its Project ACT (Access COVID Tests) program. Go to Project ACT website to see if your zip code qualifies.