With the holidays just around the corner, hospitalizations for COVID-19, flu and RSV are increasing in Illinois, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data.
Forty-four counties in the state were at an elevated level for COVID-19 hospitalizations, according to CDC data for the week ending Nov. 25. Cook County remains at a low level for COVID-19 hospitalizations.
Statewide, there were 1,039 new COVID-19 hospitalizations reported, an increase of 20% over the previous week, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.
“As we anticipated, we are seeing an increase in respiratory viruses – including COVID-19, flu and RSV - both in Illinois and across the nation,” IDPH Director Dr. Sameer Vohra said in a news release.
Officials are asking residents to take precautions to reduce the spread of respiratory illness. These include:
- Testing for COVID-19, especially if visiting someone at risk for severe disease
- Enhanced ventilation
- Good hand hygiene
- Staying home and seeking treatment if sick
- Masking in crowded places
- Getting the COVID-19, flu and RSV vaccines if eligible
These tools are especially critical for those most at risk for severe disease including those who are over 65, immunocompromised or have chronic medical conditions, according to IDPH. State public health officials said they are also especially concerned about pediatric ICU capacity, which is limited in many areas of the state.
Vohra recommended in a news release that holiday hosts enhance the safety of guests by providing proper indoor ventilation, encouraging good hand hygiene and reminding guests to cover coughs and sneezes.
Further, if someone is feeling symptoms of a respiratory virus — such as coughing, sneezing, sore throat, a runny nose or fever — it’s best to get tested and stay home to prevent the spread of illness.
“During this critical period with hospitalizations rising, I encourage all of our residents to use the tools available to keep yourself and your families healthy and protected,” Vohra said.