On Wednesday, Aug. 11, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated their guidance regarding COVID-19 vaccines while pregnant or breastfeeding. COVID-19 vaccination is now recommended for all people 12 years and older, including people who are pregnant, breastfeeding, trying to get pregnant now, or might become pregnant in the future. Evidence about the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy has been growing. These data suggest that the benefits of receiving a COVID[1]19 vaccine outweigh any known or potential risks of vaccination during pregnancy.

The CDC goes further to say: “the increased risk of severe illness and pregnancy complications related to COVID-19 infection among pregnant people make vaccination for this population more urgent than ever.” 

With the increased case activity and spread of the highly contagious Delta variant, the timing of this recommendation is critical to our community. To learn more about the updated CDC COVID-19 vaccination recommendations during pregnancy, visit cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/recommendations/pregnancy.

Currently, DuPage County is seeing increased COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations causing the county to remain at the highest level of Community Transmission, “High”, according to county-level data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The 7- day rolling average of new cases reported in DuPage County has increased 20% since last week from 115 new cases per day to 138 new cases per day. In areas of the country experiencing “Substantial” or “High” levels of community transmission of COVID-19, CDC recommends that everyone, including fully vaccinated people wear a mask in public indoor settings to prevent ongoing transmission of the disease.

Despite increases in local case activity and hospitalizations, in DuPage County, over 98 percent of hospitalized COVID-19 cases since mid-December 2020 have been in persons not fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Regarding deaths from COVID-19, over 97 percent of deaths since mid-December have occurred in residents not fully vaccinated against COVID-19. The COVID-19 vaccines authorized in the United States are highly effective at preventing severe disease and death, including against the Delta variant. The DuPage County Health Department (DCHD) is once again strongly urging eligible residents to get vaccinated against COVID-19 as soon as possible.

According to the latest CDC COVID-19 vaccination data, 84 percent of eligible residents 12 years and older in DuPage County have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose, and 67 percent are fully vaccinated. Of residents 65 years and older, 99 percent have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose, and 83 percent are fully vaccinated. Local data continues to demonstrate that COVID-19 vaccinations offer strong protection from severe illness and death among residents in DuPage County. 

For the remaining eligible unvaccinated residents, the DuPage County Health Department urges you to protect yourself, your family, and your community by joining the nearly 85 percent of eligible residents that have already been vaccinated. 

“Remaining vigilant to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is more important than ever,” said Karen Ayala, executive director of DuPage County Health Department (DCHD). “I am grateful to the eligible residents who have stepped up to be vaccinated and applaud their commitment to end this pandemic. With cases and hospitalizations rising in DuPage County, now is the time to take action to help our students safely return to in-person learning this fall and to protect the most vulnerable in our communities.”

The DCHD Care Van is providing free COVID-19 vaccinations to communities in DuPage County. The clinic is open to all people 12 years and older and offers the Pfizer or Johnson and Johnson vaccine. In addition, the DCHD Community Vaccination Clinic in Wheaton offers COVID-19 vaccines Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

As DuPage County residents go back to work, school, sports, and activities, it is important to continue at home monitoring for COVID-19 symptoms. If you, or someone in your home, is exposed to COVID-19 or begins to show symptoms, testing is a critical step to protecting you and your family. Testing is essential to detect, monitor, and curb the spread of COVID-19 and the variants in our 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 (including the recent Lollapalooza Chicago music festival), or being in crowded or poorly ventilated indoor settings to get tested. To find testing locations in DuPage County, visit www.dupagehealth.org/covid19testing.

In addition, to help interrupt and prevent community spread, persons with COVID-19 infection need to self-isolate (e.g., stay home except for medical care) and their close contacts need to self-quarantine and get tested unless they have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or have had COVID-19 infection within three months of exposure. Fully vaccinated people should get tested 3-5 days after their exposure, even if they don’t have symptoms and wear a mask indoors in public for 14 days following exposure or until their test result is negative. Updated recommendations on masking based on vaccination status and setting are available at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/fully vaccinated-guidance.html. For general questions about COVID-19 and Illinois’ response and guidance, call 1-800-889-3931 or email DPH.SICK@ILLINOIS.GOV.


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