The DuPage County Health Department (DCHD) is seeing increased activity over the past week with increases in the number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations at 75% and 44%, respectively. So much so, the DCHD is urging residents to practice preventive measures to help slow the spread of the virus.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is citing a projected increase in the Delta variant, which makes for 83% of all new COVID-19 cases across the country and is creating a higher level of risk for the unvaccinated. That issue holds true in DuPage County where Delta variant cases have been identified.
Health authorities want to remind the public that vaccines against COVID-19 are safe and effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalization and death in those who are fully vaccinated. In DuPage County, the data shows that more than 99% of cases and deaths since mid-December are traced to the unvaccinated. What’s more is the number of cases linked to the Delta variant have nearly doubled in the past week, with a total increase from 11 cases on July 14 to 21 cases on July 21, based on limited genomic sequencing efforts.
COVID-19 Vaccination Data
DCHD is reporting that 57% have received at least one dose of the vaccine and 65% are fully vaccinated. As for residents who are age 65 and older, 98% have received at least one vaccine and 82% are fully vaccinated. As for residents who are age 12 to 17, 57% have received at least one vaccine dose and 49% are fully vaccinated.
COVID-19 Preventive Guidance for Schools
As classes resume in the fall, those who are fully vaccinated are reminded that they do not need to quarantine if exposed to someone with COVID-19, which authorities say should lead to fewer disruptions to academics and extracurricular activities.
“We’re increasingly learning that children and adolescents, even if without symptoms and with lower risk for severe illness, are still able to transmit COVID-19 infection to others, within and outside their household. Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) has reported several camp outbreaks this summer, especially where masking is not implemented, screening testing is not conducted, and the Delta variant is spreading. This results in preventable illness as well as disrupted lives in work, school, and time spent away from family and friends. We need our children to return to school with low to zero COVID-19 activity, not rising activity—we need to turn things around in the coming weeks for a safer, more enjoyable, and productive school environment for students, staff, and our community,” Karen Ayala, Executive Director of DuPage County Health Department, said in a press release.
The DCHD previously released its guidance on preventative strategies for schools as they prepare for the upcoming academic year, and it recommends multi-tiered mitigations and is in conformance with guidance provided by the IDPH and CDC. Decisions on preventive strategies belong to local school districts as classes prepare to resume in the fall.
Community Outreach Efforts
The DCHD invites individuals who are age 12 and older to get vaccinated at the county’s vaccination clinic, 111 N. County Farm Road in Wheaton. Walk-ins remain allowable on site Monday through Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. A parent/guardian must be present with those who are age 17 or under. Pre-registration is encouraged as it helps save time.
This week, a DCHD Care Van is coming to the communities of West Chicago, Glendale Heights and Elmhurst to provide free vaccines to anyone ages 12 and older. The mobile clinic is equipped with the Johnson and Johnson and Pfizer vaccines. Mobile clinic schedules have been updated online. Any municipalities, businesses or community-based organizations interested in hosting a DCHD Care Van can fill out a request form online.
Anyone who is unable to leave their home or is homebound and is interested in getting vaccinated is advised to consider participating in the homebound vaccination program. Registration can be completed online or call (630) 682-7400 for assistance.
Slowing the Spread
While DuPage County is seeing a moderate uptick in COVID-19 activity, authorities would like to remind the unvaccinated about the importance of self-isolation and testing.
Should anyone have questions, the DCHD has additional information on its website. For information, call 1-800-889-3931 or email DPH.SICK@ILLINOIS.GOV.
Naperville News 17’s Megann Horstead reports.
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