Amid a continuing surge in COVID-19, the Village of Wilmette is joining the Cook County Department of Public Health in recommending restraint when gathering this holiday season.
Wilmette recently counted 122 new cases of the virus a week, the top weekly mark for the community since the pandemic began. The new cases brings Wilmette’s new case rate to 450.4 new cases per 100,000.
In the Village of Wilmette’s weekly newsletter, officials urged community members to “protect loved ones and your health while enjoying the holiday traditions” by suggesting ways to slow the virus’s spread, such as vaccination, booster shots, face coverings and consistent testing.
The Village released the news on Friday, Dec. 17, the same day the Cook County Department of Health urged unvaccinated individuals to avoid group gatherings and businesses to require patrons to provide proof of vaccination or a negative test from within the past 24 hours.
“We must continue to work together to keep each other healthy and to avoid overwhelming the healthcare system,” says a CCDPH press release.
The Omicron variant of COVID-19 is spreading in suburban Cook County, the release said, and cases “are likely to escalate quickly.”
As of Friday, Dec. 17, the positivity rate in suburban Cook was 5.2 percent, while the new-case rate reached 332 cases per 100,000 people, county data shows. In New Trier Township, according to Northwestern Medical, the positivity is 4.5 percent and new-case rate rose to 453.6 cases per 100,000.
The township’s actual number of new cases per day spiked over the past week, moving from about 25 per day to 38 per day.
While new cases are up in communities across Illinois, the largest recent increase in New Trier Township belongs to Glencoe, which reported 26 new cases last week and has seen a 281 percent increase over the past 14 days, from the previous 14 days. Wilmette, Winnetka, Northfield and Kenilworth also saw significant increases to its new cases.
Testing continues to be at a pandemic-high as well in the county with tens of thousands administered every day, according to the county data.
Before dismissing for winter break, New Trier High School counted 65 COVID-19 cases among its students and staff — the largest number for the school since the pandemic began and about eight times the case count on Dec. 1 (8).
The CCDPH also continued to urge vaccinations and booster shots, and said in the release that while the COVID vaccine is not as effective at denying the omicron variant, it does significantly reduce severe symptoms from the variant. A booster shot, the department said, aids those efforts even further.
State data shows that just 10 percent of ICU beds were available in suburban Cook County and the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients in the country has increased for 45 consecutive days.
The state reported on Thursday, Dec. 17, it counted a pandemic-high 11,858 new cases of COVID-19 in a day.
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