RSV, flu and COVID collide, new CDC community levels – NBC Chicago

An Illinois county was raised to a “high” risk level for COVID this week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, triggering new masking guidelines.

Meanwhile, changes have been released for Chicago-area counties that were at a “medium” high last week.

Here’s what you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic in Illinois today.

Chicago area returns to ‘low’ COVID alert level after moving to medium last week; 1 Illinois County now at ‘High’

Several counties in the Chicago area returned to a “low” community level for COVID this week, in accordance with standards set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Several counties listed at the medium level last week, prompting new masking guidelines, have been lowered in this week’s data.

Still, several counties remain below the medium risk level across the state, and one county is now in a “high” category. This county is Winnebago, just outside the Chicago area in northern Illinois.

Residents of counties under high alert are recommended to wear masks when in public indoor spaces. Those at higher risk for COVID should also mask at “medium” levels, according to the CDC.

RSV is increasing as flu and COVID cases rise. Should we wear masks?

Since October, health experts in Chicago and across the country have feared that an “explosion” of respiratory viruses – RSV, influenza and COVID – could begin to appear this fall and winter as cases for everyone continue to rise. increase.

“My concern is that COVID really takes off and flu really takes off, it’s really going to continue to stretch our hospital capacity,” said Dr. Allison Arwady, commissioner of public health for the Chicago Department of Public Health.

Learn more here.

Should residents wear masks, even when not required? Chicago’s top doctor speaks out

Amid the slow rise in COVID cases in Illinois and the United States, Chicago’s top doctor says residents may want to start wearing masks more often in indoor spaces, especially with the increase cases of influenza and RSV.

Chicago Department of Public Health commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady took the time during her Tuesday Facebook Live to answer questions about masking and said she continued to wear masks in indoor spaces.

Learn more here.

3 unusual COVID symptoms and what to look out for if you think you have them

As the COVID pandemic enters its third winter, many now know that not everyone experiences the same symptoms. But for some, the symptoms may seem particularly strange.

While many may suffer from fever, cough, congestion and more, some unexpected symptoms may occur.

Learn more here.

Are breakthrough cases being reported with the bivalent COVID booster? Top Doc says yes

Chicago’s top doctor said there have been cases of breakthrough COVID infections in people who received the new bivalent COVID booster and there’s a reason for that.

“We’ve seen breakthrough cases like every time…since COVID began,” Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said Tuesday, adding that “it’s definitely linked to the new strains.” .

Arwady referenced the changing dynamics of the proportion of variants in the Midwest and across the United States, with the BA.5 omicron subvariant rapidly losing its grip as the dominant strain.

Learn more here.

BA.5 may not be the dominant variant for much longer. Here’s why and what it means

The BA.5 omicron subvariant has been the dominant COVID variant in the United States for months, but its reign may soon be over.

Indeed, two descendants of the BA.5 strain could potentially surpass it.

This comes as new variants continue to emerge, including BN.1, which has now been added to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s weekly tracker.

Learn more here.

What to know about quarantine, isolation and testing for COVID before the holidays

With concerns of a “triple outbreak” on the rise ahead of the holiday season and several Chicago-area counties under heightened COVID alert levels, what do you need to know if you test positive for COVID or enter in contact with someone who has been?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released changes to their COVID guidelines over the summer, changing recommendations for quarantine, social distancing and even testing.

Since then, bivalent COVID booster shots have been given, but an increase in RSV and influenza, coupled with continued COVID cases, has left some worried.

Here’s what you need to know.

Moderna Announces New Data on the Efficacy of the Bivalent COVID Booster

Moderna revealed on Monday that its latest trial data showed its bivalent COVID booster shots “elicited a superior neutralizing antibody response against Omicron BA.4/BA.5 variants” compared to its original vaccine and to his booster shots.

“We are pleased to see that our two bivalent booster vaccine candidates provide superior protection against Omicron BA.4/BA.5 variants compared to our original booster, which is encouraging given that COVID- 19 remains one of the leading causes of hospitalization and death worldwide. Additionally, the superior response against Omicron persisted for at least three months following the recall of mRNA-1273.214,” Stephane Bancel, CEO of Moderna, said in a statement.

Bancel also noted that the data seemed to indicate that bivalent injections showed protection against the new BQ.1.1 subvariant currently on the rise in the United States.

“Our bivalent boosters also show, in research tests, neutralizing activity against BQ.1.1, an increasingly dominant emerging variant, confirming that updated vaccines have the potential to offer protection as the virus continues. to evolve quickly to escape our immunity,” Bancel said.

Doctors urge vaccinations as respiratory viruses circulate ahead of holiday season

Chicago-area health officials are urging people to get vaccinated ahead of colder weather, especially with rising RSV and flu cases.

“This ‘tripledemic’…what we’re calling right now involves three viruses,” explained Dr. Geraldine Luna, medical director of the Chicago Department of Public Health.

Respiratory viruses such as influenza, RSV and COVID-19 are “spreading rapidly” in Illinois, the state’s public health department said earlier this week.

Learn more here.

Dreaded ‘tripledemic’ as RSV and flu cases rise, community levels of COVID rise in Chicago area

With winter approaching and Thanksgiving less than two weeks away, doctors are warning that the United States could potentially face what is being called a “triple epidemic” – an increase in three respiratory diseases.

“When we say ‘tripledemic,’ we mean we’re seeing high cases of RSV, high cases of influenza, and we expect to see high cases of COVID as well,” Dr. Kevin Smith explained.

Learn more here.

Cook County, Chicago now under “medium” COVID alert level. What you should know

Chicago and Cook County are among several places in the Chicago area currently under a high COVID alert level.

“We are already seeing an upsurge in influenza in the southern United States, COVID is back on the rise as we return locally to an average level of COVID, and children’s hospitals in Chicago are already overflowing with critically ill children. from other respiratory viruses, such as RSV,” CDPH Commissioner Dr Allison Arwady said in a statement. “Families will be traveling and congregating indoors for the holidays, and I am concerned about this increased circulation of COVID-19 and influenza, and in particular the possibility of serious consequences for those who are not vaccinated or which are not up to date.

Learn more here.

6 counties in the Chicago area under a high COVID alert level. Here’s what that means

Six counties in the Chicago area are now under a high COVID alert level, with new mask recommendations taking effect.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Cook, DuPage, Lake, McHenry, Will and Grundy counties are now all below the “average community level” for COVID.

Here’s what that means for you.

IDPH warns respiratory viruses are ‘spreading fast’ ahead of holidays

Illinois health officials warn respiratory viruses are ‘spreading rapidly’ as the holidays approach, with RSV, influenza and COVID-19 continuing to spread as days get shorter and temperatures rise cool down.

“The United States is currently facing its highest rate of influenza hospitalizations in a decade, with young children and the elderly being most at risk,” said IDPH Director Dr. Sameer Vohra. , in a press release. “Vaccines remain our best tools to prevent the worst outcomes of COVID-19 and influenza. I strongly recommend anyone who has not achieved full protection against COVID-19 and influenza to get vaccinated immediately. The new COVID-19 bivalent booster and influenza vaccine targets current strains of these viruses.

Learn more here.

COVID-19 cases plummet in Illinois as more than 1.5 million bivalent boosters administered statewide

Illinois health officials have reported 11,020 new cases of COVID-19 since Nov. 4, along with 38 additional deaths in the past six days.

Cases and deaths have seen a notable drop over the previous week, which saw 14,225 new cases of COVID-19 and 54 additional deaths from the virus.

Learn more here.

NBC Chicago

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