BREAKING: Illinois Officials Monitoring Spread Of New Covid Variant; Will You Be Impacted?
BREAKING NEWS: Illinois officials are closely monitoring the increasing spread of the more virulent BA.2 omicron subvariant of covid-19, ready to take action should it start to hit the state heavily.
The subvariant is said to be up to 50 percent more infectious than any other variant of covid, and although covid numbers are going down overall statewide, the BA.2 is already making up 25 percent of all new covid infections, according to Illinois Department of Health numbers, Illinois governor JB Pritzker said today in a press conference.
The BA.2 variant has ripped across Europe and pushed infections up over 40 percent in many countries. In Germany and the UK, new daily infections are setting all-time records and hospitalizations and new infections are up over 50 percent since the emergence of the new variant.
In Illinois, numbers of infections and hospitalizations are at their lowest since July 2021, although 100 percent of cases in Illinois were a form of the omicron variant for the week ending March 12, according to Illinois Department of Public Health numbers.
Pritzker remains optimistic Illinois will be able to weather the storm without backsliding into any mitigations. Pritzker said the state’s stockpile of pandemic-related supplies is nearly fully replenished, with 1.5 million rapid tests on hand and 500,000 to arrive in the coming weeks.
“Illinois is currently in a good place. The number of admissions and COVID patients in hospitals continues to stabilize and drop across the state, that is what I look at most closely,” Pritzker said. “The virus is very much still here and with us, and it isn’t going away, but with vaccines, with the existing variants that we have, they’re manageable. However, we’ve seen other countries impose new mitigations because of their experiences with this more transmissible subvariant.
“I’m also calling on all schools to consider their current testing capacity and make sure that they’re prepared with a strong testing plan in place if we experience another surge,” he said. “Testing allows you to monitor the prevalence of infection, which will help keep children in our classrooms and keep educators and staff safe.”
With new, FDA-approved oral COVID-19 treatments available with a prescription, Pritzker called on Illinoisans to get the medications within five days if they do test positive.
“The world seems smaller, doesn’t it? The world just seems smaller and more connected because of COVID. So what’s happening elsewhere could possibly affect us right here,” Pritzker said. “For now, though, things in Illinois are improving.”
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