As Illinois COVID-19 cases surge, officials issue Thanksgiving safety advisories – NBC Chicago < Illinois

Illinois health officials have reported 14,388 new COVID-19 cases since Nov. 16, along with 59 additional deaths in the past seven days.

The metrics reflect a slight increase as the state recorded 13,659 new COVID-19 cases and 48 deaths in the previous week.

Officials also noted that 21 counties are at elevated levels of virus transmission, with Winnebago County being the only area with a high alert status as of Nov. 18.

With a “high” level of transmission, covering is recommended for everyone in public indoor spaces. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendations for “moderate” risk counties, the elderly and immunocompromised are advised to wear a mask in indoor public places and receive COVID vaccinations and booster shots as necessary.

However, COVID-19 is not the only disease on the rise. Officials reported that RSV and the flu continue to cause illness and lead to hospitalizations.

As Thanksgiving approaches, officials are urging the public to remain cautious about respiratory and foodborne illnesses that can spread at holiday gatherings.

In addition to being fully vaccinated and boosted against COVID-19 and the flu, officials encourage the public to get tested before attending events, especially when there is a high risk of severe COVID-19. One tip that can make a big difference in transmission and infection is to ensure gatherings are well ventilated. Other recommendations include staying at home if you feel ill and practicing good hand hygiene.

The CDC has also issued guidance on food safety practice, stating that those who handle food should wash their hands and cooking materials, from cutting boards to countertops, to avoid cross-contamination. Food shouldn’t be left at room temperature for more than two hours, the CDC noted.

Overall, the state has seen 3,858,155 cases of coronavirus since the pandemic began, according to the latest data from the Illinois Department of Public Health. The additional deaths bring Illinois to 35,414 confirmed COVID deaths.

According to IDPH, the interim statewide seven-day case rate is 113 COVID cases per 100,000 Illinois residents, up slightly from the 107 cases per 100,000 residents reported a week earlier.

As of Tuesday night, 1,112 patients were hospitalized due to COVID in the state, up from 1,070 patients last week. Of the current patients, 112 are on intensive care beds and 41 on ventilators.

A total of 25,244,887 vaccine doses have been administered in Illinois since vaccination began in December 2020. More than 70% of Illinois residents are fully vaccinated against COVID, with more than 78% having received at least one dose. More than 14% received their bivalent booster doses.