The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) announced on July 14 that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is reporting that all 102 counties in the state remain at a low level for COVID-19 hospital admissions, according to the new rating system introduced after the declared state and national public health emergencies expired in May. Counties are considered to be at a low level of COVID-19 transmission when hospitalizations are below 10 per 100,000 population.
The CDC and IDPH will continue to monitor COVID-19 trends by measuring the presence of the virus in wastewater in addition to other existing surveillance methods. In Illinois, the data is posted by the Illinois Wastewater Surveillance System, which tracks the levels of COVID-19 and influenza in wastewater at 76 locations throughout the state.
IDPH and the Skokie Health and Human Services Department remind Illinoisans about the resources available to access Covid-19 tests, vaccines or therapeutics as these products transition to the commercial market this fall. Free testing could still be accessed through Project Act and ICATT testing sites; and vaccines will still be available for free through VFC and CHIP programs and several healthcare coverage plans. The Covid-19 treatments provided by the US government will remain free while supplies last and can be accessed through various providers and pharmacies across Illinois.
In regard to the COVID-19 vaccine, FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) met on June 15, 2023 to discuss the Fall Covid-19 vaccine and unanimously voted that the Fall Covid-19 vaccine should be active against the most dominant strain (currently the XBB 1.5 strain which evolved from the earlier Omicron variant). Subsequently, FDA advised manufacturers to develop vaccines active against the XBB.1.5 strain and CDC’s ACIP Covid-19 work group will review the FDA authorizations to determine if annual boosters will subsequently be recommended by ACIP.