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DuPage County residents encouraged to get vaccine as COVID cases rise

COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to rise, and DuPage County remains in substantial transmission, according to county level data from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The DuPage County Health Department (DCHD) is once again strongly urging eligible residents to get vaccinated against COVID-19 as soon as possible. In DuPage County, more than 99.9% of hospitalized and deceased COVID-19 cases since mid-December have been in persons not fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Vaccination continues to be the best form of protection against COVID-19, including the Delta variant, and helps prevent severe illness, hospitalization and death in fully vaccinated people, according to a DCHD news release.

According to the latest CDC COVID-19 vaccination data, 83% of eligible residents 12 years and older in DuPage County have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose, and 66% are fully vaccinated. Of residents 65 years and older, 99% have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose, and 83 % are fully vaccinated. However, among 12- to 17-year-olds in DuPage County, 68% have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose, and only 49% are fully vaccinated, the release stated.

Although the risk of COVID-19-related hospitalization and death is lower in children than adults, the risk is not zero, and no number of pediatric deaths is acceptable for any family or community, particularly when there are effective mitigation strategies to prevent the spread of this illness, according to the release.

Furthermore, infected children and adolescents are efficient at spreading COVID-19 in households, schools and communities to adults who may be at greater risk of severe illness, hospitalization and death. The DCHD strongly recommends the practice of simple, safe and highly effective measures available to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and incidence of pediatric hospitalizations and deaths, including vaccination of all eligible persons, universal indoor masking and physical distancing.

Given the high mixing of vaccinated and unvaccinated people in schools and that vaccines are not available to children under 12, the DCHD supports the CDC and Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) COVID-19 prevention recommendations. These recommendations reflect the need for universal indoor masking by all teachers, staff, students and visitors in K-12 schools regardless of vaccination status or community transmission level. Children should return to full-time in-person learning in the fall with layered prevention strategies in place.

Furthermore, it remains critical that individuals realize that people who are immunocompromised do not enjoy the same level of protection from vaccination that others do. For those individuals, as well as unvaccinated individuals, the DCHD ask all residents to continue practicing preventive measures to protect people at greater risk of contracting the more transmissible variants.

It is still extremely important to help interrupt and prevent community spread; persons with COVID-19 infection need to self-isolate and their close contacts need to get tested after exposure. Close contacts should also self-quarantine unless they have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or have had COVID-19 infection within three months of exposure.

Testing remains essential to detecting, monitoring and curbing the spread of COVID-19 and the variants in the community. DCHD encourages individuals (regardless of vaccination status) who have taken part in activities that put them at higher risk for COVID-19 including travel, attending large social or mass gatherings or being in crowded or poorly-ventilated indoor settings to get tested. For more information about when to get tested for COVID-19 and the types of tests available, visit www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/testing.html. To find testing locations in DuPage County, visit www.dupagehealth.org/covid19testing.

As vaccination efforts continue, there are various options for members of the community to get their COVID-19 vaccine in DuPage County. Anyone seeking COVID-19 vaccination should visit www.vaccines.gov to find a nearby vaccine provider. In addition, the DCHD Community Vaccination Clinic in Wheaton offers COVID-19 vaccines from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.Monday through Friday.

The DCHD Care Van mobile clinic is another option that provides free COVID-19 vaccinations directly to DuPage County communities. To view this week’s schedule click here. Additionally, any DuPage County residents who are homebound or who cannot safely leave their residence to visit a vaccination clinic are eligible to be vaccinated through the county’s homebound vaccination program and should register at dupagehealth.org/covid19vaccineregistration or call 630-682-7400 for assistance.

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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