Illinois COVID Update: IL reports 2,969 cases, 27 deaths

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Illinois public health officials reported 2,969 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 and 27 related deaths Friday.There have been 1,680,908 total COVID cases, including 25,590 deaths in the state since the pandemic began.The seven-day statewide test positivity rate from Oct. 15-21 held steady at 2.2%.Within the past 24 hours, laboratories have reported testing 148,610 specimens for a total of 34,429,589 since the pandemic began.
As of Wednesday night, 1,277 patients in Illinois were reported to be in the hospital with COVID-19. Of those, 323 patients were in the ICU and 152 patients with COVID-19 were on ventilators.A total of 15,203,716 vaccine doses have been administered in Illinois as of Thursday, and 56.5% of the state's population is fully vaccinated. The seven-day rolling average of vaccines administered daily is 29,950.According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the majority of Illinois counties are in the "high transmission" level, even though total case numbers have been trending down.The CDC director has added frontline workers to the list of those eligible for booster shots, which also includes people 65 and older, nursing home residents and those 50 and above with chronic health care problems.More than 70 million Americans are now eligible for booster shots following the CDC's latest guideline allowing boosters for the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines. The federal agency also green lighted mixing shots, which means more questions from confused customers for pharmacists."We want the questions because when we get the questions we can engage in conversations to enlighten people about the pros of the vaccines," said Dr. Steven Fadowole, a Walgreens pharmacist.While the talk is all about boosters, pharmacists and doctors say to end the pandemic, the focus must remain on getting people their first doses."Vaccinating the unvaccinated is by far the most important thing we can be doing from a public health standpoint," said Dr. Will Parker, UC Medicine.But, according to the CDC, more Americans are getting boosters every day than people receiving their first shots. In the United States, only 57.2% of Americans are fully vaccinated. It's slightly higher in Chicago with 59%. If a large number of people remain unvaccinated, will herd immunity ever be reached?"In theory, we hit a point of herd immunity where we get children vaccinated and enough of the unvaccinated people get vaccinated or get COVID," Parker said.Pharmacists say that while they answer questions about the latest booster guidance, their main goal is to get more people their first doses.Between boosters, first shots and flu shots, pharmacists are going to get even busier when the vaccine is approved for 5-11 year olds, which is expected in early November.
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