IDPH reports 14,225 COVID-19 cases, 54 deaths over past week
SPRINGFIELD (WGEM) - The Illinois Department of Public Health announced Friday that it will start distributing 1 million COVID-19 rapid antigen tests to 200,000 families in economically disadvantaged zip codes outside of Chicago.
The effort was made possible through a partnership with the Rockefeller Foundation’s public charity and its Project ACT (Access COVID Tests) program. IDPH Director Dr. Sameer Vohra said COVID-19 tests remain a critical tool to help limit the spread of the virus.
“A positive test early in the course of your illness allows you to protect yourself by providing an opportunity to seek treatment earlier, likely reducing severe disease,” Vohra said. “A positive test also allows you to protect your loved ones and community by knowing when to stay home and not spread the disease to others. We are grateful to the Rockefeller Foundation for partnering with us to make it possible for thousands of families in Illinois to have free access to at-home tests.”
People can find out if they live in an eligible zip code and request a package of five tests at the Project ACT website. The COVID-19 tests will be available on a first-come-first-serve basis and will be delivered to the home address applicants use.
The announcement comes at 14,225 Illinoisans contracted COVID-19 over the past week. IDPH also reported Friday that 54 people died from COVID-related illness since Oct. 28.
The CDC and IDPH reported that 31 counties are now at an elevated community level for COVID-19. Although, that is an improvement compared to 38 counties at risk last week. There are now no counties rated at the high community level and 31 counties labeled for medium risk of spreading the disease.
Dr. Vohra is also strongly recommending that all Illinoisans get fully up-to-date with a COVID-19 bivalent booster shot and flu shot before the winter respiratory season and the holidays. Both bivalent vaccines offer added protection from the BA.4 and BA.5 variants that are still the most transmissible across Illinois and across the country.
The CDC authorized the updated COVID-19 bivalent vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech for children ages 5 to 11 on October 12. Bivalent vaccines from Moderna were also authorized for children and young adults 6 to 17 on the same day. Doctors, parents, and guardians can find resources from the Illinois Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics by clicking here.
IDPH officials reported an average of more than 25,000 doses of the bivalent boosters were given across the state each day during the past week. 27,785 vaccines were given over the last 24 hours. 86.3% of Illinoisans 12 and older have received at least one shot. 78.1% of those people are fully vaccinated. The 7-day rolling average for shots given is 27,785.
The updated booster shots are available at pharmacies, hospitals, and other healthcare providers. You can look for a vaccine provider near you by clicking here and searching for bivalent booster availability.
IDPH reported Friday that 35,289 Illinoisans have died from COVID-related illness since the pandemic started.
State officials reported 2,465 new confirmed and probable cases and 16 deaths on Friday. The case rate 7-day average is now 112 per 100,000 people.
1,081 people are currently hospitalized for COVID-19 in Illinois. 136 people are in the ICU and 48 of those patients are on ventilators.
The counties listed at the medium community level are Boone, Brown, Cass, Coles, Champaign, Coles, Cumberland, Douglas, Ford, Fulton, Hamilton, Henderson, Iroquis, Jo Daviess, Johnson, Kankakee, Knox, Lee, Marshall, Mason, Massac, Menard, Ogle, Peoria, Pike, Pope, Stephenson, Tazewell, Union, Warren, and Winnebago.
Elderly or immunocompromised people living in areas labeled at medium-level risk for COVID-19 should wear masks in indoor places as well. The CDC said those individuals should be up-to-date on COVID-19 vaccines and get a second booster shot if eligible.
IDPH data indicated that the risk of hospitalization and severe outcomes from COVID-19 is much higher for unvaccinated people than for people who are up to date on their vaccinations.
The state continues to work with pharmacies and healthcare providers to increase the inventory of various FDA-authorized treatments. IDPH reported there are over 1,200 treatment locations across the state, including all major retail pharmacies. More than 96.7% of the state’s population is within a 10-mile radius of one of these locations.
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