64 Illinois counties on watch for high or medium level COVID-19 spread

The latest COVID-19 transmission map for Illinois as of June 17, 2022.
The latest COVID-19 transmission map for Illinois as of June 17, 2022.(Illinois Department of Public Health)
Published: Jun. 17, 2022 at 2:58 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD (WGEM) - The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have now labeled 25 counties for high-level community spread, and 39 counties are rated at medium level. The latest update is an improvement compared to last week when Illinois had 32 counties at high risk for COVID-19. Still, the Illinois Department of Public Health is warning people to be cautious going into the holiday weekend.

Boone, Brown, Cass, Christian, DeKalb, Fulton, Jo Daviess, Kankakee, Kendall, Lee, Logan, Marshall, Massac, McLean, Menard, Ogle, Peoria, Sangamon, Schuyler, Scott, Tazewell, Will, Winnebago, and Woodford counties are listed for high risk of COVID-19 spread.

The CDC says everyone in areas labeled high community level should wear well-fitted masks indoors in public, regardless of vaccination status. Their recommendation applies to K-12 schools and other indoor community areas. Anyone immunocompromised or at high risk for severe disease should wear a mask or respirator for greater protection. The CDC recommends people should also talk with healthcare providers about the need to take other precautions and have a plan for rapid COVID-19 testing.

Adams, Champaign, Clay, Clinton, Cook, DeWitt, Douglas, DuPage, Edgar, Ford, Gallatin, Grundy, Henry, Iroquois, Jackson, Johnson, Kane, Knox, Lake, LaSalle, and Livingston counties are at medium risk for COVID-19 spread. Macon, Macoupin, Madison, Mason, McDonough, Monroe, Montgomery, Randolph, Saline, St. Clair, Stark, Stephenson, Union, Vermillion, Wabash, Wayne, and Williamson counties also fall into the medium level category.

IDPH officials say elderly or immunocompromised people in those counties should wear masks in indoor public places and make sure they are up to date on COVID-19 vaccines and booster shots.

Amaal Tokars, IDPH’s acting director, says Illinoisans should be cautious and use common sense before participating in family gatherings over the Father’s Day and Juneteenth weekend.

“We urge everyone to keep the safety of their loved ones in mind, especially older family members and those who are vulnerable to severe outcomes. If you are attending a family gathering, you should be up-to-date and boosted on your vaccinations,” Tokars said. “If you are feeling any symptoms, you should take a COVID-19 test or stay home. In areas with elevated community levels, you should wear your mask in indoor public places and avoid indoor crowded spaces. If needed, contact a healthcare provider promptly to discuss what treatment is right for you.”

IDPH reported 3,499 new confirmed and probable cases and 15 deaths Friday. The case rate 7-day average is now 213 per 100,000 people.

The department also reported that 1,162 people were hospitalized for COVID-19 as of Thursday night. Of those patients, 131 were in the ICU and 33 were on ventilators. At this point last week, there were 1,094 people hospitalized for COVID-19 complications with 110 patients in the ICU and 31 on ventilators.

11,716 vaccines were given over the last 24 hours. 84.9% of Illinoisans 12 and older have received at least one shot. 76.8% of those people are fully vaccinated. The 7-day rolling average for shots given is 9,891.

Many parents with young children are still waiting for the CDC to give the green light on pediatric COVID-19 vaccines. IDPH is working with the Illinois Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics to start a robust vaccination campaign for children six months to four years old once the shots are available. While children haven’t experienced the worst outcomes of COVID-19 compared to adults, IDPH says more than 42,000 children have been hospitalized for COVID-19 complications and more than 1,000 have died.

“It is truly wonderful news that vaccinations are on the horizon for this youngest group of Illinoisans,” Tokars said. “We encourage every parent or guardian of children six months and older to consult with their pediatricians and make plans to get their children vaccinated and protected from COVID-19. Vaccination remains the strongest way to protect your children and your extended family from COVID-19.”

The pediatricians’ group is also distributing toolkits to pediatricians and other healthcare providers to help them plan for the vaccine rollout for young children. Information in the toolkit could also be used to inform parents about the protection provided through the COVID-19 vaccines.

IDPH noted that both newly approved vaccines were proven to be safe and effective during clinical trials. State officials say the vaccines for young children will be beneficial for kids with underlying health conditions who are more susceptible to serious outcomes.

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