CHICAGO (WLS) — Illinois reported 2,711 new COVID cases and 9 new deaths as of Wednesday.
The Illinois Dept. of Public Health says that “daily deaths reported at weekends and early in the week may be low” and “those deaths are recorded in the following days.”
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Transmission of COVID-19 was upgraded to a “moderate” risk level throughout the Chicago area earlier this month, but was reduced to the “low” transmission category on Friday, as determined by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
There have been at least 3,860,866 total COVID cases and at least 35,423 related deaths in the state since the pandemic began.
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As of Tuesday night, 1,147 patients in Illinois are reported to have been hospitalized with COVID-19. Of these, 122 patients were in intensive care and 36 patients with COVID-19 were on ventilation.
The daily number of cases per 100,000 inhabitants is 16.7.
Chicago’s top doctor is asking residents to get their flu shots before the holidays
As the flu ramps up in Chicago and the suburbs, the city’s top doctor is urging everyone 6 months and older to get their COVID and flu vaccines before the holidays.
dr Allison Arwady, Commissioner of the Chicago Dept. of Public Health, received her Fall 2022 COVID-19 refresher just before Thanksgiving.
She said she is aware there is COVID vaccine fatigue but said COVID and the flu are not going anywhere – and you should protect yourself against both on a regular basis.
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In DuPage County, health leaders say there has been a dramatic increase in pediatric hospitalizations for respiratory illnesses.
The DuPage County health system sometimes says there are no hospital beds available anywhere in the county.
Advocate Aurora Health is also restricting the number of hospital visitors because there is so much flu circulating.
Beds are full at Chicago’s Saint Anthony Hospital, one of the few community hospitals in the area with its own children’s ward. Likewise the emergency room. RSV, COVID and now a rising number of flu cases are pushing the small hospital back into disaster planning.
“We went from crisis to crisis,” said Raquel Prendkowski, St. Anthony’s chief nursing officer. “It’s hard to deal with.”
St. Anthony is on the border between Little Village and North Lawndale. It serves a minority, the Medicaid population, and like many hospitals, it also struggles with staff shortages.
“You have the bigger hospitals that have the bells and whistles and aren’t able to staff,” Prendkowski said. “What does that say for smaller hospitals?”
In order not to be overwhelmed in the coming weeks, hospital officials are pushing to get more people vaccinated against the flu and COVID. Refreshment rates among Black and Latino residents remain low. As with various COVID waves, the hospital is working with community organizations like churches to encourage people to get vaccinated.
“Just like God’s word to us, it is part of our sermons every Sunday,” said Rev. Robin Hood of Greater Rock MB Church.
St. Anthony officials say community partnerships are crucial because they say people are suffering from vaccine fatigue and need to hear the importance of vaccinations from people they trust.
“I think there might be messaging congestion, they almost stop at one point,” said James Sifuentes, Senior VP Mission & Community Development in St. Anthony.
As St. Anthony prepares for the worst in the short term, they are hoping to get as many people as possible to get vaccinated this weekend. His clinic is open to the public all day on Friday and from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday.
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