Respiratory virus levels continue to trend down across region and Illinois

The Illinois Department of Public Health reports respiratory virus levels are trending down across the state.

For the first time since October, CDC data indicates as of the week ending March 23rd all counties are now at the low level for COVID-19 hospitalizations.  The number of hospitalizations fell 20 percent from the prior week.

Marion and Washington County reported one new hospitalization.  There were two in Fayette and Effingham Counties and seven in Clinton and St. Clair Counties.  No new cases were reported in Jefferson, Wayne, Clay, or Jasper Counties.

Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Sameer Vohra says as we celebrate the start of spring, he is happy to report a continued decline in respiratory viruses.  As flu season typically continues until May, he is encouraging Illinois residents to keep using all of the tools available to keep themselves and their loved ones safe, especially those most vulnerable to severe health outcomes.

If people do develop symptoms of a respiratory illness, including coughing, sneezing, sore throat, a runny nose or fever, IDPH recommends staying home and away from others to avoid spreading illness.  If you need to seek medical care, you should wear a mask to limit the risk to others or try to schedule a telehealth appointment.  In addition, public health experts urge anyone who has been recently exposed to COVID-19 or other respiratory viruses to wear a mask when in crowded areas and if visiting someone at high risk for severe disease.

Every household in the US is eligible to receive four free at-home tests through the COVID.gov website.  IDPH has also made available a single swab triple-test for flu/RSV and COVID-19, available at no cost, to high-risk congregate care settings and local health departments.

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