CHICAGO – The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is emphasizing the importance of comprehensive protection against a range of seasonal viruses as COVID-19 hospitalizations in the state show a 17% increase. As of November 11, CDC data indicates medium COVID-19 levels in 20 Illinois counties, including Champaign, Peoria, and Winnebago. The state reported 740 hospitalizations in the week prior, alongside rising cases of flu and RSV.
IDPH Director Dr. Sameer Vohra encourages Illinois residents to employ multiple strategies to safeguard against these viruses, especially during the Thanksgiving holiday. Measures include vaccination, indoor ventilation, good hand hygiene, and staying home if symptomatic. Healthcare settings are advised to consider universal masking in high-risk areas.
The CDC has launched a respiratory virus dashboard for public access to data on COVID-19, flu, and RSV. Additionally, U.S. households can receive four free at-home COVID tests from the COVID.gov website. For uninsured or under-insured individuals, the CDC’s Bridge Access Program covers COVID-19 vaccine costs, while the Vaccines for Children Program assists eligible children. Pregnant individuals are recommended to receive RSV vaccines during certain weeks of pregnancy.
Illinois residents with COVID-19 symptoms have access to no-cost telehealth services through the SIU School of Medicine. Free antiviral treatments like Paxlovid and Lagevrio are available for Medicare, Medicaid, and uninsured patients. More information, including resources for masks, treatments, vaccines, and testing, is available at https://www.covid.gov/.