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Nikhil Prasad  Fact checked by:Thailand Medical News Team Jan 21, 2024  4 weeks, 2 days, 19 hours, 24 minutes ago

COVID-19 News - United States: COVID-19 Hospitalizations Remain High In 54 Illinois Counties With 1,393 Hospitalizations In The Week Ending January 13

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COVID-19 News - United States: COVID-19 Hospitalizations Remain High In 54 Illinois Counties With 1,393 Hospitalizations In The Week Ending January 13
Nikhil Prasad  Fact checked by:Thailand Medical News Team Jan 21, 2024  4 weeks, 2 days, 19 hours, 24 minutes ago
COVID-19 News - United States: The relentless battle against COVID-19 continues to unfold in the United States, with the state of Illinois facing unique challenges in controlling the spread of the virus. Recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reveals a concerning trend - COVID-19 hospitalizations remain alarmingly high in 54 Illinois counties, pointing to the persistent threat that the virus poses.

COVID-19 Hospitalizations Remain High In 54 Illinois Counties 

In contrast, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) reports a decline in the overall respiratory illness level, providing a glimmer of hope. This COVID-19 News - United States report delves into the latest developments, challenges, and strategies adopted by the state to combat the evolving landscape of the pandemic.
COVID-19 Hospitalizations and Vaccination Rates
The CDC's COVID Data Tracker, in its latest update ending January 13, underscores the severity of the situation in Illinois. The state has maintained a Medium level for COVID-19 hospitalizations for the fourth consecutive week, with a total of 1,393 hospitalizations reported.
Digging deeper, 54 counties continue to grapple with elevated levels, with 50 classified at the Medium level and four at a High level. This data emphasizes the urgent need for intensified efforts in vaccination.
Illinois has seen hospitalizations increase by approximately 28% to 30% over the last four weeks, Dr Vidya Sundareshan, infectious diseases specialist with Southern Illinois University Medicine and medical advisor to Sangamon County Department of Public Health, told local media.
She said, “We are definitely seeing an increase in COVID cases.”
Bond, Clinton, Madison, Monroe and St. Clair counties are at a low level, and Greene, Marion, Macoupin, Montgomery and Washington are among the medium-level counties. Effingham, Fayette, Iroquois, Jefferson, Kankakee, Wayne and Wabash counties are at a high hospitalization level.
Despite ongoing vaccination campaigns, only about 24% of adult Illinoisans are up to date on their COVID-19 vaccine, as reported by the CDC's National Immunization Survey.
Vaccination remains a critical tool in the fight against the virus, and IDPH Director Dr Sameer Vohra urges residents to prioritize getting vaccinated to mitigate the risk of severe illness and hospitalization.
Seasonal Respiratory Viruses and Pediatric Influenza Deaths
While the overall respiratory illness activity in Illinois has shown a downward trend, caution remains paramount. IDPH Director Dr. Vohra acknowledges that respiratory virus season can extend into spring, necessitating continued vigilance. The recent confirmation of a third pediatric death due to influenza in December serves as a stark reminder of the potential severity of influenza in children. This underscores the importance of vaccination not only against COVID-19 but also against other respiratory viruses.
Effective Treatments and PAXLOVID Availability
Dr Vohra emphasizes that effective treatments for COVID-19, the flu, and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) are available. Notably, PAXLOVID, a highly effective treatment for COVID-19, is accessible at no charge through the federal Patient Assistance Program. This is particularly crucial for those with health coverage through Medicare and Medicaid or for the uninsured. The availability of effective treatments provides a ray of hope amid the challenges posed by the persistent high hospitalization rates.
Preventive Measures and Mask Guidelines
In the face of ongoing challenges, IDPH reinforces preventive measures. If individuals develop symptoms of a respiratory illness, including coughing, sneezing, sore throat, a runny nose, or fever, staying home and away from others is strongly recommended to prevent further spread. For those needing medical care, wearing a mask is crucial to limit the risk to others. Public health experts also advise anyone recently exposed to COVID-19 or other respiratory viruses to wear a mask in crowded areas and when visiting someone at high risk for severe disease.
Infectious Respiratory Disease Surveillance Dashboard
To enhance transparency and keep the public informed, IDPH recently launched an Infectious Respiratory Disease Surveillance Dashboard, updated weekly on Fridays. This comprehensive report provides the latest data on hospital visits, seasonal trends, lab test positivity, and demographic information. The dashboard serves as a valuable tool for residents and healthcare professionals to track and respond to emerging trends.
Awareness Campaigns and Free At-Home Tests
IDPH's 'Tis the Sneezin' awareness campaign, launched this fall, aims to remind Illinoisans that vaccinations provide the best protection against the triple threat of COVID-19, flu, and RSV. As part of the broader strategy, every household in the U.S. is eligible to receive four free at-home tests through the website. Additionally, a single swab triple-test for Flu/RSV and COVID-19 is available at no cost to high-risk congregate care settings and local health departments, ensuring widespread access to testing resources.
Long COVID Concerns and Recommendations
As the state grapples with the ongoing impact of COVID-19, a concerning phenomenon comes to light - long COVID. Dr Vidya Sundareshan, infectious diseases specialist, notes a significant increase in COVID cases, with hospitalizations rising by approximately 28% to 30% over the last four weeks.
Long COVID, characterized by persistent symptoms lasting weeks, months, or even years after infection, poses a unique challenge. Symptoms include brain fog, fatigue, chronic respiratory illness, gastrointestinal problems, and more.
The prevalence of long COVID raises questions about the true extent of the pandemic's impact. Dr Sundareshan emphasizes that vaccination against COVID-19 has been shown to consistently reduce the risk of long COVID symptoms, citing data from Spain, the United Kingdom, and Estonia. Despite this, estimates vary on the likelihood of developing long COVID, ranging from 10% to 20% of all patients who contract COVID-19.
As Illinois navigates the complex and evolving landscape of the COVID-19 pandemic, a multi-faceted approach involving vaccination, effective treatments, and public awareness campaigns is imperative. The state's proactive measures, including surveillance dashboards and free testing initiatives, aim to keep the public informed and protected. While challenges persist, the collective efforts of healthcare professionals, public health organizations, and the community at large remain vital in overcoming the hurdles posed by the persistent virus and its variants.
For the latest COVID-19 News - United States, keep on logging to Thailand Medical News.


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