More than a dozen counties join those with high level for COVID-19 transmission

“The most effective way to prevent severe illness is for all to be up-to date with vaccinations and boosters,” said Amaal Tokars, the Illinois Department of Public Health’s acting director.

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Students test themselves for COVID-19 at St. Mary Star of the Sea School, in West Lawn

Students test themselves for COVID-19 at St. Mary Star of the Sea School, in West Lawn. Statewide, 32 counties now are rated “high” transmission risk, as designated by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

The number of people contracting COVID-19 has spiked 10% in Illinois since Memorial Day weekend, and state health officials are warning residents to be cautious heading into summer.

“This uptick is a cause for concern — and serves as a reminder to all of us, especially as we are approaching the coming Father’s Day and Juneteenth weekend, that we can all do our part to fight the virus,” Amaal Tokars, the Illinois Department of Public Health’s acting director, said in a statement.

The jump in cases ended what had been a downward trend in Illinois.

In Illinois, 32 counties now are designated “high” transmission risk by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, up from 19 counties last week.

Those counties include Cook, Lake, McHenry, DuPage and Kane in northeastern Illinois. Other clusters are the counties around Bloomington, Peoria and Springfield. Five counties are in or near the state’s southern tip.

Another 39 counties are at “medium” risk.

Since June 3, more than 34,000 coronavirus cases have been reported, and 73 deaths.

Tokars urged those who are sick to stay home. People exposed to the virus or experiencing symptoms should get tested before visiting friends and family.

“The most effective way to prevent severe illness is for all to be up to date with vaccinations and boosters,” Tokars said in the statement. “This is especially important for elders and persons who are immunocompromised or have complex medical conditions.”

Even when taking those steps, Tokars said, people should wear masks indoors and avoid crowded indoor spaces.

As of Thursday evening, 1,189 people with COVID-19 were hospitalized in the state. Of those patients, 124 patients were in the ICU and 27 patients were on ventilators. The preliminary seven-day case rate for the state is 267 cases per 100,000 people.

A total of 22,485,224 vaccine doses have been administered in the state, an average of 11,813 doses a day. Since last week, 82,691 doses reportedly have been administered.

At least 76% of the state’s population has received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose, while 69% of the total population is considered fully vaccinated. Nearly 53% of the state’s residents have received the first booster shot.

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