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IDPH News Release: Respiratory Virus Levels Trending Down Across Illinois

March 29, 2024


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Respiratory Virus Levels Trending Down Across Illinois

CHICAGO – Illinois’ overall respiratory virus level has dropped to Low in recent weeks and all counties in Illinois are now at Low level for COVID-19 hospitalizations for the first time since October, CDC data indicates as of the week ending March 23. The total number of COVID-19 hospitalizations in Illinois declined 20% during the same week according to the CDC COVID Data Tracker.

“As we celebrate the start of spring, I am happy to report a continued decline in respiratory viruses,” said IDPH Director Dr. Sameer Vohra. “IDPH is continuing to closely monitor the data, but we are reassured by our latest information. As flu season typically continues until May, we encourage Illinois residents to keep using all of the tools available to keep themselves and their loved ones safe, especially those most vulnerable to severe health outcomes.”

IDPH endorsed the recommendation made in February by the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) for a second dose of the updated 2023-2024 COVID-19 vaccines for those over 65 years of age. Those who are immunosuppressed remain eligible to receive additional doses 2 months after their previous dose. A CDC presentation that was provided for the ACIP meeting included preliminary data that showed that 96% of those hospitalized for COVID-19 in October and November 2023, had not received the updated Covid shot last fall.

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. If you need to seek medical care, you should wear a mask to limit the risk to others – or 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. For more on when and where to use a mask, click HERE.

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