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Officials urge precautions as CDC rates 21 IL counties at elevated COVID community levels

Belleville News-Democrat - 11/20/2022

Nov. 20—Illinois public health officials urge residents to get up to date with COVID-19 and influenza vaccinations and take additional precautions for the holidays as multiple respiratory viruses lead to hospitalizations across the country.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention rated one Illinois county at a high COVID-19 community level and 20 counties at medium levels in its Thursday update.

Winnebago County was at a high level, and medium level counties included Washington, Marion, Pike, Adams, Mason, Tazewell and others. St. Clair, Madison, Jersey, Monroe, Clinton and Randolph counties were at low levels.

The CDC's COVID-19 community levels are updated Thursdays and based on metrics from the past seven days, including new hospital admissions per 100,000 people, average percent of staffed, inpatient beds occupied by COVID patients and new cases per 100,000 people.

The federal agency advises people in high community level areas to wear a mask indoors and on public transportation, and people at a higher risk of severe illness should consider precautions in medium level areas.

Illinois health officials urge precautions

As hospitals across the U.S. battle COVID-19, respiratory syncytial virus and influenza, some states are struggling with shortages of available pediatric intensive care unit beds.

The Illinois Department of Public Health issued a statement Nov. 18 recommending residents take "necessary precautions" to mitigate the spread of respiratory viruses.

"With respiratory illnesses such as RSV, the flu, and COVID-19 leading to increased illness and hospitalizations, I strongly recommend using all available strategies to stay healthy and safe," IDPH Director Dr. Sameer Vohra said in the statement. "These strategies 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."

The state health department is distributing 1 million rapid antigen COVID-19 at-home tests to 200,000 Illinois families living in ZIP codes (outside the City of Chicago) that are rated high on the Social Vulnerability Index. More information about this program is available online from Project Act.

All Illinois residents, regardless of their ZIP code, are eligible for free or low-cost COVID-19 tests at designated testing sites across the state.

COVID-19 in St. Clair County and Illinois

IDPH has reported 13,659 new confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases statewide and 48 deaths since Nov. 11. The statewide daily case rate was 15.3 per 100,000 people as of Nov. 18.

Intensive care unit availability in Illinois is at 18%, down slightly from 19% the prior week. The seven-day rolling number of hospital admissions is 104, compared to 103 the prior week.

St. Clair County's daily case rate is 11.3 per 100,000 individuals, and 18% of the county's ICU beds are available. The county's seven-day rolling number of hospital admissions is two, and IDPH reported zero COVID-19 deaths in the county.

The CDC reports St. Clair County's weekly case rate is 74.71 per 100,000 people. There were 6.3 new COVID-19 hospital admissions per 100,000 individuals, and 3.5% of the county's staffed inpatient beds are in use by patients with confirmed COVID-19.

Test positivity is at 4.12% in St. Clair County, according to the CDC. The rate of tests performed has increased by 44.76% in the county, using data current through Nov. 10.

As of Thursday night, IDPH reported 1,070 people were in the hospital with COVID-19, including 116 patients in ICUs and 37 people on ventilators.

You can find COVID-19 testing and vaccination information online in St. Clair County.

Note: Some CDC data, such as test positivity rates, the number of tests performed and total case rate, update on different days. IDPH data and CDC data may not update at the same time, so metrics may vary across agencies.


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