Spread of respiratory viruses declines in Illinois

The Illinois Department of Public Health, IDPH, on Friday, Feb. 2, announced that the latest data continued to show the spread of respiratory viruses was declining throughout the state. 

The state’s overall respiratory illness level decreased from low to minimal in the most recent available CDC data.

The state was also at a low level for COVID-19 hospitalizations on the CDC COVID Data Tracker as of Jan. 27. 

In addition, the number of counties at a medium level for COVID-19 hospitalizations, which meant between 10 and 20 hospitalizations per 100,000 of population in the previous week, was at 10 in the most recent week, down from 11 the previous week. 

Union County was at a low level. Alexander and Pulaski counties also were at a low level.

Jackson, Johnson, Massac and Williamson counties were at a medium level.

No counties were at a high level, meaning more than 20 hospitalizations per 100,000 in the previous week, down from six the previous week.

While respiratory illness activity was decreasing, IDPH reminded the public that respiratory virus season can last into the spring and additional increases in illness rates are still possible.

“I am very encouraged to see continued decreases in respiratory illness activity throughout Illinois,” IDPH director Dr. Sameer Vohra said Feb. 2 in a news release. 

“While cases are declining, 10 counties are at medium level for COVID-19 hospitalizations. IDPH will remain vigilant as we near the end of the winter respiratory season. We encourage residents, especially those most vulnerable to severe health outcomes from COVID-19, flu and RSV to use the tools at their disposal to stay safe.”

If people do develop symptoms of a respiratory illness, including coughing, sneezing, sore throat, a runny nose or fever, IDPH recommends staying home and away from others to avoid spreading illness. 

Those who need to seek medical care are advised to wear a a mask to limit the risk to others or to try to schedule a telehealth appointment. 

In addition, public health experts urge anyone who has been recently exposed to COVID-19 or other respiratory viruses to wear a mask when in crowded areas and if visiting someone at high risk for severe disease. 

IDPH said that RSV season is winding down in Illinois; therefore, the use of the RSV vaccine in pregnancy is no longer warranted. 

However, the shots that can be used to provide infants and young children protective immunity to RSV will continue to be available until the end of the season and older adults can continue to get their RSV vaccine even after the season is declared over.

The Gazette-Democrat

112 Lafayette St.
Anna, Illinois 62906
Office Number: (618) 833-2158
Email: news@annanews.com

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