Respiratory virus cases rise in Illinois ahead of holidays: IDPH – NBC Chicago

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Respiratory virus cases rise in Illinois ahead of holidays: IDPH – NBC Chicago

Illinois health officials warned Friday that several respiratory viruses are “on the rise” in the state, with hospitalizations for COVID, the flu and RSV all increasing this holiday season.

The Illinois Department of Health reports that 44 counties in Illinois have a high rate of Covid-19 hospitalizations. In total, 39 districts were at medium level and five were under “high” alert as the number of hospitalizations increased by 20% within the last week. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Meanwhile, data shows “broad acute respiratory hospitalizations” for COVID, influenza and RSV are on the rise, and officials said they are particularly concerned about pediatric ICU capacity, which is already limited in some parts of the state.

“As we expected, we are seeing an increase in respiratory viruses, including COVID-19, influenza and RSV in Illinois and across the country,” IDPH Director Dr. Sameer Vohra said in a statement. “As we experience this outbreak, IDPH is working closely with our healthcare partners to educate the public, monitor our hospital capacity and develop effective mitigation strategies.”

In response to the surge, IDPH launched a new, infectious respiratory surveillance dashboard that is updated every Friday, providing public access to data on hospital visits, seasonal trends, laboratory test positivity and population data, the department said. The new site is expected to launch on Friday at 3 p.m Here.

“I encourage all of our residents to use tools to keep you and your family healthy and safe during this critical period of increased hospitalizations,” Vohra said. ‚ÄúThese tools include testing for Covid-19 (especially when seeing someone at risk of severe disease); Improved ventilation; good hand hygiene; stay at home and get treatment if sick; mask in crowded places; Getting the Covid-19, flu and RSV vaccines you or your loved ones are eligible for. These tools are especially important for people who are at high risk for serious illness, including those over 65, immunocompromised or those with chronic medical conditions. And parents and caregivers: Protect even those young children given limited pediatric ICU capacity in many parts of the state.

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The government is now urging healthcare organizations to reconsider facemasks in “patient care areas.”

The Illinois Department of Human Services has announced improvements to its COVID testing and “infection-prevention policies” as a result of an outbreak of COVID cases among state-run development centers, residents and staff.

“We are working closely with our colleagues at IDPHS facilities to monitor conditions, provide strategies to control any outbreaks, provide resources, direct advice and assessments,” said Dr Hilary Spencer, head of the IDPHS Infection Control Team. A statement.

When it comes to holiday gatherings, Vohra urged hosts to promote “proper indoor ventilation” and good hand hygiene.

“If anyone feels symptoms of a respiratory virus – cough, sneeze, sore throat, runny nose or fever – it is best to get tested and stay home to prevent the spread of the disease,” IDPH said in a release.

The surge comes after officials warned of spikes in virus levels before and after the Thanksgiving holiday.

“What we’re seeing right now is not unexpected because the weather is getting colder as people gather with family members and loved ones for Thanksgiving,” Dr. Brian Bora, director of vaccine-preventable disease surveillance with the Chicago Department of Public Health, told NBC Chicago this week. “Now looking ahead to the winter break, you know, we’ve seen the beginning of an increase again.”

In Chicago, Bora said RSV levels have been rising for a few weeks, while fevers started to climb more recently.

While hospitalizations in Cook County have yet to reach the numbers, Bora said he fears that as cases increase, it could strain area hospitals again.

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“The CDC predicts that this year we will have similar hospital numbers for all respiratory viruses that we saw last year. We’re expecting an even better season, you know, we’re expecting a better season ever,” he said. . “But last year, as you know, we had similar periods of three major respiratory disease peaks, and because all those peaks coincided, there was some strain on our hospital systems, you know, manpower. There was some strain on finding beds for patients.”

Health officials continue to urge people to get vaccinated for Covid and flu and, if eligible, for RSV.

When it comes to testing for the holidays, every family in America is eligible for free home tests COVID.gov.

For guidelines on when to test and how often to test, click here.

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