Chicago Department of Public Health Weekly Media Brief, 11/22/2023

November 22, 2023

CDPH Public Information

Stay Healthy While Giving Thanks

As we gather for the holidays, CDPH is reminding Chicago residents to take steps to help keep everyone healthy. The number one way to do so is to make sure everyone stays up to date with the new COVID-19, flu and RSV vaccines. Everyone ages 6 months and up should receive the new COVID-19 and flu vaccines to protect against the circulating respiratory viruses. Adults 60 years and older, pregnant women and infants should receive an RSV vaccine. Visit or to find a vaccine appointment - note that CDPH clinics will be closed for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Other tips:

  • Stay home if you are sick, even if you are vaccinated for COVID-19, flu and RSV. Do not attend parties or events, and test yourself for COVID-19.
    • Even if your test is negative, stay home until you are feeling better.
  • Speak with your doctor if you are sick.
    • Treatments for COVID-19, flu and RSV are available.
  • Wear a mask.
    • If you have symptoms, a positive test for a respiratory virus, or exposure to someone with COVID-19.
    • If you are at high risk of contracting severe disease or immunocompromised.
    • On public transportation.
    • In indoor public settings where vaccine status is not known, and when visiting high risk family members.
  • Test yourself for COVID-19 five days after an exposure.
  • Improve ventilation by hosting gatherings outdoors when possible, or by opening windows.
  • Remember to wash your hands frequently throughout the day or use an alcohol-based sanitizer.

For a Spanish language resource on frequently asked COVID questions, see our COVID Q&A with Dr. Geraldine Luna on YouTube.

Vaccine Update

The CDPH COVID-19 data dashboard has been updated with new data on Chicagoans who are up to date with the 2023-2024 COVID-19 vaccine. These data will be updated weekly on Wednesdays at 3:30 CT.

As of November 22, approximately 218,200 Chicagoans have received the updated 2023-24 COVID-19 vaccine, or 7.9% percent of the population. There are disparities in vaccine uptake among different race/ethnic group: Coverage is almost four times as high among white, non-Latinx Chicagoans (13.4%) than Black, non-Latinx (4.4%) and Latinx (3.9%) Chicagoans.

Supporting "Hear Her" with CDC

Who knows your body better than yourself? Particularly when someone is pregnant, listening to them and acting upon their concerns – during or after pregnancy – can be lifesaving. That’s what drives the “Hear Her” campaign by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention - to prevent pregnancy-related deaths. More than 80% of pregnancy-related deaths can be prevented, and “Hear Her" is focused on sharing potentially life-saving messages about urgent warning signs.

These warning signs could point to something that’s not quite right with a pregnant person’s physical or mental health. Someone who is pregnant can often tell when something does not feel right, but their concerns are not always taken seriously. This effort by the CDC urges everyone – partners, friends, family, coworkers, and providers—anyone who supports pregnant and postpartum people—to really listen when she tells you something doesn’t feel right. Acting quickly could help save a life.

An equally important objective of the “Hear Her” campaign is to empower people who are pregnant and postpartum to speak up and raise concerns when something doesn’t feel right, or if they’re feeling sad, overwhelmed, or experiencing anxiety.

The CDC’s “Hear Her” website has more information on the campaign, as well as resources for pregnant women, families, and healthcare professionals.

EverThrive Illinois provides a community of support for the self-care of Black pregnant people during and after pregnancy. EverThrive seeks to empower Black pregnant people to exercise their right to give birth on their terms. EverThrive Supporting Healthy Pregnancy in Chicago.

Practice Safe Food Handling for Thanksgiving

It’s Thanksgiving week in America, a time that brings families together for a reflection on the year gone by and a delicious communal dinner for everybody to share. To keep yourself and your loved ones safe this Thanksgiving, make sure to practice proper food handling and storage when preparing your feast! Here are some quick tips and pointers for avoiding any food-related health mishaps:

  • Make sure to wash your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds before handling any raw or cooked food.
  • Keep your meat and poultry stored in the bag you receive it in from the store.
  • Never defrost food at room temperature – Use the refrigerator, a cold water bath, or the microwave instead.
  • Do not rinse your meat or poultry before cooking.
  • Use a food thermometer to ensure meats are properly and fully cooked before serving.
  • Throw out any leftovers after 3-4 days to avoid consuming potentially harmful bacteria.

For more information on how to best practice food safety in the kitchen and beyond for the holidays, visit the Partnership for Food Safety Education website at Happy Thanksgiving!