The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) announced Friday, Aug. 25, that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is reporting all 102 Illinois counties remained at a low level for COVID-19 hospital admissions as of the middle of August, though wastewater surveillance is detecting rising COVID-19 activity.
IDPH is continuing to closely watch COVID-19 data and also monitoring other respiratory viruses, particularly flu and RSV, ahead of the fall and winter seasons.
“Although hospitalization rates and deaths from COVID-19 remain low, it is important for our residents to know that we are seeing rising COVID-19 activity across Illinois,” said IDPH Director Dr. Sameer Vohra. “We are fortunate the vast majority of Illinoisians have received immunity from a COVID-19 vaccine or previous infection that protects them against severe disease. However, COVID-19 continues to pose a risk for our seniors, individuals with chronic medical conditions, and those who are immunocompromised.”
Vohra said that the Illinois Wastewater Surveillance System is indicating moderate COVID activity across all sampling regions in Illinois. The system is designed to monitor for levels of COVID-19, flu and RSV viruses in wastewater at 79 locations across Illinois. Flu and RSV activity remain low in the wastewater across all regions.
With the U.S. marking National Immunization Awareness Month in August, IDPH encourages Illinoisans to follow recommendations from public health authorities on COVID-19 and the flu as well as the recently authorized RSV vaccine for adults who are 60 and older and more vulnerable to severe illness. Federal authorities have also approved a new preventive medication for RSV for all children up to 8 months and for some high-risk children older than 8 months.
The CDC is expected to issue guidance in September about the newly developed COVID-19 boosters for fall.
Illinois has more than 200,000 courses of effective therapeutic medications, including Paxlovid and Molnupiravir, available through providers and pharmacies that will continue to be provided free of charge until supplies run out.
In addition, the CDC this summer launched the Bridge Access Program that will cover the cost of COVID-19 vaccines and treatments for uninsured and underinsured adults this fall. This program will also cover the new annual COVID-19 shot when it is rolled out this fall. In addition, Illinoisans who experience COVID-19 symptoms can access no cost-share telehealth services through the SIU School of Medicine Covid Test to Treat services or call 217-545-5100.
Additional resources and COVID-19 data can be found at https://dph.illinois.gov/covid19.html.
The federal government has established a website that provides an all-purpose toolkit with information on how to obtain masks, treatment, vaccines and testing resources for all areas of the country at: https://www.covid.gov/.