Growing number of strep cases in Illinois
The Illinois Department of Public Health, IDPH, on Friday, March 10, announced the CDC was reporting 26 counties in the state were at medium community level for COVID-19 last week, compared to 14 a week earlier.
No counties were reported at high level, compared to four the previous week.
Union, Alexander and Pulaski counties each were at a low community level.
Jackson, Williamson, Johnson and Massac counties each were at a medium level.
An IDPH update last week showed that Union County had one new COVID-19-related death. The county has had 70 total deaths since the start of the pandemic. The last time a new death was reported was in early January.
As of March 8, IDPH statistics showed that Union County had recorded a total of 6,858 COVID-19 cases since the start of the pandemic.
As of Friday, IDPH had recorded a total of 4,083,292 cases and 36,431 deaths, in 102 counties in Illinois since the beginning of the pandemic.
The department reported 10,320 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Illinois in the week ending March 5, and 45 deaths.
IDPH director Dr. Sameer Vohra warned that cases of group A strep throat leading to severe complications are on the rise in Illinois, with more cases reported in 2023 than in any of the past five years.
“As COVID-19 cases and community levels remain stable, I want to share my concern about the growing number of strep throat cases in Illinois that are leading to severe complications,” Vohra said in a news release.
“These cases, known as invasive Group A strep, are the result of disease spreading from the throat to blood, muscle and lungs,” Vohra said.
He urged “parents to contact their health providers when their children start showing early symptoms.
“These symptoms include sudden onset of sore throat, pain when swallowing and fever. Early detection is critical as strep can be diagnosed with a simple test and treated with antibiotics.
“If able, please make sure everyone in the house is up to date with flu and chickenpox vaccines. Having either the flu or chickenpox can increase your risk of contracting invasive Group A strep.”
IDPH is also urging the public to seek treatment for COVID-19 quickly if they test positive for COVID-19.