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Seasonal respiratory viruses circulating widely in Illinois following the holidays

Health Department stresses vaccines, basic safety measures and staying home if sick

CHICAGO, Ill. (January 6, 2024) – Illinois’ overall respiratory illness level has increased from Moderate to High in the past week, and more than half the counties in the state are at an elevated level for COVID-19 hospitalizations. The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is reminding the public to stay up-to-date on all respiratory illness vaccines and to stay home and seek treatment when sick. This health guidance is being offered as seasonal respiratory viruses — including COVID-19, flu, and RSV — are circulating widely. The CDC is reporting 61 Illinois counties at either High or Medium level for COVID-19 hospital admissions, according to the CDC’s national COVID Data Tracker, as of the week ending December 23.

A total of 18 counties in Illinois are listed at High level for COVID-19 hospitalizations (compared to 14 counties in the week prior), and 43 are at a Medium level in the latest week (compared to 50 counties in the week prior), including Cook, DuPage, Lake and McHenry counties. Statewide, 1,381 new COVID-19 hospitalizations were reported, an increase of 7.7% over the previous week.

Only about 24% of adult Illinoisans are up to date on their COVID-19 vaccine per the CDC’s National Immunization Survey.

Flu activity is now surging to match the pre-COVID-19 2019-2020 season while RSV activity overall appears to have stabilized though a slight increase in RSV admissions in infants was noted this past week. IDPH has also confirmed two pediatric deaths due to influenza and is investigating a third potential death, all with December onsets. This is a sobering reminder of the potential severity of influenza in children and the importance of vaccination.

To help keep the public informed about conditions around the state, IDPH recently launched an Infectious Respiratory Disease Surveillance Dashboard that will be updated weekly on Fridays. This report provides the public the latest data on hospital visits, seasonal trends, lab test positivity, and demographic data.

It is also easy to track data at the county level on a new national respiratory virus dashboard launched by the CDC this fall that allows the public to view weekly updates on the levels of COVID-19, flu and RSV.

The federal government has established a 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:

Illinois Department of Public Health
Illinois Department of Public Health
The Illinois Department of Public Health has 200 different programs that benefit each state resident and visitor. These services make up Illinois' public health system, a system that forms a frontline defense against disease through preventive measures and education.