Department of Public Health Launches STATeam to Provide Support, Treatment & Access to Protect Most Vulnerable Illinoisans in Case of Outbreaks
CHICAGO – The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) announced today that the CDC is reporting 15 counties in the state are at an elevated level for COVID-19, compared to 5 a week ago. Of those, one county is at a High Community Level for COVID-19, compared to none the week before; and 14 counties are at a Medium Level. IDPH Director Dr. Sameer Vohra also announced today that the department is launching a new rapid response unit called the STATeam (Support, Treatment & Access Team) that will be deployed on as needed basis to long term care facilities if and when there is a sudden surge of COVID-19 cases.
The STATeam is designed to strengthen IDPH’s county health department partners in their efforts to support long term care facilities. The support will include testing, vaccinations, contact tracing and treatments.
IDPH has recorded a total of 4,040,139 cases and 36,229 deaths, in 102 counties in Illinois since the beginning of the pandemic. The department is reporting 10,234 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Illinois in the week ending February 5, and 62 deaths.
“We are seeing a slight increase in COVID-19 community levels this week,” Director Vohra said. “However, as COVID-19 community levels are relatively low and the State of Illinois plans for the end of the statewide disaster declaration in May, IDPH remains dedicated to staying vigilant and protecting the most vulnerable Illinoisians. This is why we are excited to announce the launch of the new STATeam. This innovative new program will provide additional layers of support for our local health departments and long term care facilities, protecting our most at-risk residents and keeping them safe from COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses.”
Access to tests and treatments can be found at the following test to treat site or by contacting your provider for treatment options, within 5 days of feeling ill.
IDPH is helping Illinoisans stay prepared for any future surge of COVID-19 cases by offering 1 million free COVID-19 rapid antigen tests to Illinois residents in all zip codes outside the City of Chicago through a partnership with the Rockefeller Foundation’s public charity, RF Catalytic Capital and its Project ACT (Access COVID Tests) program.
Through Project ACT, IDPH is distributing up to one million at-home antigen tests to 200,000 Illinois households. You can request one package of five tests on a first-come-first-serve basis at the Project ACT website. The tests will be delivered to the home address.
Free or low cost COVID-19 testing locations are also available throughout the state, including in Chicago, and can be found on the IDPH website’s testing locator page.
The CDC authorized two new bivalent booster vaccines on September 1 that include an mRNA component of the original strain to provide an immune response that is broadly protective against COVID-19 and an added mRNA component in common between the omicron variant BA.4 and BA.5 lineages to provide better protection against COVID-19 caused by the omicron variant.
Initially, the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine, Bivalent, was authorized for use as a single booster dose in individuals 18 years of age and older and the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine, Bivalent, was authorized for use as a single booster dose in individuals 12 years of age and older. On October 12, the CDC authorized the updated COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech for children ages 5 through 11 years, and from Moderna for children and adolescents ages 6 through 17 years.
On December 9, the CDC expanded its authorization for bivalent boosters to include children aged 6 months to 5 years. Children ages 6 months through 5 years who previously completed a Moderna primary series can now receive a Moderna bivalent booster 2 months after their final primary series dose. Children ages 6 months through 4 years who are completing a Pfizer primary series will receive a Pfizer bivalent vaccine as their third primary dose.
The updated boosters are available at pharmacies, hospitals, and other healthcare providers. The best way to locate a vaccine provider near you is to visit www.vaccines.gov and search for bivalent booster availability.
As of last night, 834 individuals in Illinois were reported to be in the hospital with COVID-19. Of those, 100 patients were in the ICU and 34 patients with COVID-19 were on ventilators. The preliminary seven-day statewide case rate is 80 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 Illinoisans.
In counties at the Medium Community Level, persons who are elderly or immunocompromised (at risk of severe outcomes) are advised to wear a mask in indoor public places. They should also get up to date on COVID-19 vaccines or get their bivalent booster, if eligible.
IDPH has been supporting pharmacies and healthcare providers in efforts to increase their inventories of the various FDA-authorized treatments. There are over 1,200 treatment locations in Illinois – including all the major retail pharmacies. More than 96.7% of the state’s population is within a 10-mile radius of one of these locations.
A total of 25,969,848 vaccines have been administered in Illinois as of today. The seven-day rolling average of vaccines administered daily is 6,344 doses, including the bivalent booster and first doses. Since February 3, 44,411 vaccine doses were reported administered in Illinois. Of Illinois’ total population, more than 79% have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose, more than 71% have completed their primary series of COVID-19 vaccines, and more than 19% have received the bivalent booster dose, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Data indicates that the risk of hospitalization and severe outcomes from COVID-19 is much higher for unvaccinated people than for those who are up to date on their vaccinations. All data are provisional and are subject to change. Additional information and COVID-19 data can be found at https://dph.illinois.gov/covid19.html.
Vaccination is the key to ending this pandemic. To find a COVID-19 vaccination location near you, go to www.vaccines.gov. The federal government has established a new website that provides an all-purpose toolkit with information on how to obtain masks, treatment, vaccines and testing resources for all areas of the country at: https://www.covid.gov/.