CDPH COVID-19 Update: Cook County and Chicago Remain in Medium COVID-19 Community Level
As COVID-19 and flu cases, hospitalizations increase locally and nationally, federal health officials say those 6 months and up now eligible for the new bivalent booster
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CHICAGO–Chicago and Cook County remain in the Medium COVID-19 Community Level according to the latest Community Level metrics released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), but cases and hospitalizations are going up. Nationwide and in Illinois, Community Levels are increasing at the same time that seasonal flu is seeing record levels of hospitalizations for this point in the year. With this surge in respiratory virus activity, the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) urges Chicagoans to get the updated COVID-19 booster and their annual flu shot.
In total, 29 of Illinois’ 102 counties are at the High Community Level (12 last week), 45 are Medium (51 last week), and 28 are Low (42 last week). Nationwide, nearly 45 percent of U.S. counties are at the Medium or High Level (up from 30 percent last week).
Influenza hospitalizations nationwide right now are higher than they have been in the past decade for this point in the flu season. Last week, for the first time in the pandemic, influenza hospitalizations overtook COVID-19 hospitalizations.
Yesterday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the administration of updated COVID-19 booster vaccines, known as bivalent boosters, for children age 6 months and up, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director provided final approval today. The City of Chicago has ordered nearly 20,000 doses of this new booster vaccine for young children. These are expected to arrive early next week with the administration to begin right away.
“I am thrilled the we will have the updated COVID-19 booster for the youngest Chicagoans next week. Now everyone 6 months and older is eligible for this new booster vaccine that protects against Omicron subvarients,” said CDPH Commissioner Allison Arwady, M.D. “But I remain very concerned about our older residents. Two out of every three Chicagoans over age 65 have not gotten their booster and most likely have not gotten their flu shot either. The people most likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19 are those who have not gotten a booster - especially if they are older. If you know a senior who hasn’t gotten their booster or flu shot, please help them to get those right away.”
The FDA provided specific guidance around the booster for young children:
- Children ages 6 months through 5 years who previously completed a Moderna primary series are eligible to receive a Moderna bivalent booster 2 months after their final primary series dose.
- Children ages 6 months through 4 years who are currently completing a Pfizer primary series will receive a Pfizer bivalent vaccine as their third primary dose.
Young children and older adults are both at higher risk of severe outcomes like hospitalization and death from influenza and should be vaccinated to prevent such outcomes. COVID-19 and flu vaccines are widely available at pharmacies across the city. As always, COVID-19 vaccines are free.
CDPH is hosting a free flu/COVID-19 vaccination clinic tomorrow, Saturday, December 10 at Olive Harvey College, 10001 S. Woodlawn Ave., from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Registration is recommended, but walk-ins will be accommodated. Primary series COVID-19 vaccines and flu vaccines for Chicagoans 6 months and up will be offered, as well as bivalent COVID-19 boosters for those who are eligible.
The City continues to operate Protect Chicago At Home, its completely free program that will bring COVID-19 and flu vaccines right to any Chicagoan’s home and vaccinate up to 10 people in a single appointment. COVID-19 vaccines, including primary doses and the new booster vaccines are available for anyone age 6 months and up. Chicagoans age 6 months and up can also receive a flu vaccine at home if at least one member of the household is receiving a COVID-19 vaccine. Appointments are available mornings, afternoons, and evenings, weekdays and weekends. Make an at-home appointment for your family at Chicago.gov/AtHome or by calling (312) 746-4835.
COVID-19 Bivalent Booster Updates
As of December 7, 16.9 percent of all Chicagoans age 5 and up have received the updated COVID booster vaccine, compared to 13.5 percent of all Americans. Among eligible Chicagoans (those who have completed their primary COVID-19 vaccine series), 24 percent have received their updated booster vaccine. However, there continues to be disparities by race and ethnicity. Among eligible Chicagoans, 36.5 percent of White residents have received the updated booster, compared to 26.6 percent of Asian residents, 19.8 percent of Black/non-Latinx residents and 15 percent of Latinx residents. As of December 7, more than 455,000 doses of the updated booster have been administered to Chicagoans.
This new, updated vaccine, known as the bivalent booster, is designed to better protect against the Omicron subvariants BA.4/5 as well as original strains of the virus. The bivalent booster generates a stronger immune response against current and future Omicron subvariants.
COVID-19 By the Numbers
The CDC determines COVID-19 Community Levels as Low, Medium, or High, based on the number of new local COVID-19 cases, regional COVID-19 hospital admissions, and COVID-19 hospital capacity in the prior week. The Levels were developed to help communities decide what prevention steps to take based on the latest local COVID-19 data.
CDPH also continues to track and report COVID-19 hospital burden specifically for Chicago hospitals every day on its dashboard and uses this local hospital data to make further mitigation decisions. Visit chi.gov/coviddash for the Chicago COVID-19 daily data dashboard.
New Lab-Confirmed COVID-19 Cases (per 100,000 people in last 7 days)
New COVID-19 admissions per 100,000 population (7-day total)
Proportion of staffed inpatient beds occupied by COVID-19 patients (7-day average)
|[GOAL is <200]
|[GOAL is <10]
|[GOAL is <10%]
|City of Chicago
|Cook County (including City of Chicago)
|Cook County metrics are calculated by the CDC and posted on the CDC Community Levels website (data as of 12/8/2022).
COVID-19 Community Levels in the U.S. by County
Nationwide and in Illinois, COVID-19 Community Levels continue to trend upward. Travelers should be aware of whether areas they are visiting are Low, Medium, or High risk for COVID-19 by checking the CDC’s map, and take proper precautions, which should include reviewing CDPH’s travel guidance.
|Number of Counties
|Percent of Counties
|% Change from Prior Week
For additional COVID-19 information, visit Chicago.gov/COVID.