COVID-19 UPDATE: BA.4, BA.5 Now Variants of Concern; 40,000+ New Illinois Cases; 23 Counties Now at 'Medium' Level

COVID-19 UPDATE: BA.4, BA.5 Now Variants of Concern; 40,000+ New Illinois Cases; 23 Counties Now at ‘Medium’ Level




OVERVIEW: BA4, BA5 Now Variants of Concern; How Bad Is Situation in North Korea?

Two strains of Omicron have been labelled “variants of concern” that could dominate this summer, health officials warned. The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control said in a report that variants BA.4 and BA.5 could lead to soaring COVID cases across the continent. (Reuters)

North Korea has confirmed 15 more deaths and hundreds of thousands of additional patients with fevers as it mobilizes more than a million health and other workers to try to suppress the country’s first COVID-19 outbreak, state media reported Sunday. (The Associated Press)



OVERVIEW: About 319,000 U.S. COVID Deaths Were Preventable; ‘Explosive’ Spread in North Korea; Evanston at ‘High’ COVID Level



An analysis released Friday by researchers at Brown University and Microsoft AI Health estimates the portion of vaccine-preventable deaths in each state since COVID-19 vaccines became available at the start of 2021.  According to the analysis, of the more than 641,000 people who died after vaccines were available, half of those deaths could have been averted – 318,981 – had every eligible adult gotten vaccinated. And those numbers are even more striking in certain states where more than half of deaths could have been avoided. (NPR)

Six people have died and 350,000 have been treated for a fever that has spread “explosively” across North Korea, state media said Friday, a day after the country acknowledged a COVID-19 outbreak for the first time in the pandemic. (Associated Press)

Based on the rising number of new COVID cases reported in the last seven days, the city of Evanston said Thursday its community COVID risk level has increased from “medium” to “high,” the highest level of alert, according to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. City metrics show 397 new COVID cases were reported in Evanston over a seven day period, compared to 305 the week prior. According to local health officials, once Evanston reaches more 200 new COVID cases per 100,000 people over a week time frame, community level transitions to high. (NBC5 Chicago)

Some Maine school districts are making changes amid a rising number of COVID-19 cases, and some Maine schools are choosing to go completely remote. All students, staff and visitors at Portland Public Schools will be required to wear a mask indoors and on school buses starting on Thursday, according to Superintendent Xavier Botana. In Windham, the middle school and high school are closed for the rest of the week due to staffers testing positive. Those students will do remote learning for the rest of the week. (


KANE COUNTY: 379 New Cases, 0 Deaths Friday; ICU Beds Down to 23%

Kane County recorded 379 new COVID-19 cases but no additional deaths in data reported today by the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Kane County’s has recorded 131,751 positive cases since the pandemic began. According to the IDPH, 1,127 Kane County residents have died from COVID-19.

The IDPH says Kane County’s case rate is up to 45.5 per 100,000 population. About 23% of Kane County ICU beds are available.

The county is averaging four COVID-19 hospitalizations a day.


STATE OF ILLINOIS: 40,026 New Cases, 45 Deaths This Past Week; 23 Counties Now at Medium Level

The Illinois Department of Public Health today reported 40,026 new confirmed and probable cases of coronavirus disease in Illinois, including 45 deaths since May 6, 2022.

Today alone, Illinois recorded 8,411 new COVID-19 cases and seven additional deaths.

Currently, IDPH is reporting a total of 3,209,341 cases, including 33,705 deaths, in 102 counties in Illinois since the beginning of the pandemic.

As of last night, 909 individuals in Illinois were reported to be in the hospital with COVID-19.  Of those, 87 patients were in the ICU and 25 patients with COVID-19 were on ventilators.  The preliminary seven-day statewide case rate is 314 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 Illinoisans.

According to the CDC, 23 counties in Illinois are now rated at the Medium Community Level, including 14 counties in the northern part of the state, eight in the central part and one in Southern Illinois.

At the Medium Community Level, people at risk of severe health outcomes are advised to take additional precautions to protect themselves from the virus, including masking up in indoor spaces.

The 23 Illinois counties now listed at the Medium Community Level include Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Grundy, Kane, Kendall, Lake, LaSalle, Lee, McHenry, Ogle, Whiteside, Will and Winnebago in northeastern Illinois; and Sangamon, Champaign, DeWitt, Ford, Logan, Mason, McLean and Peoria in the center of the state; and Johnson in Southern Illinois.

At the Medium Community Level, persons who are elderly or immunocompromised (at risk of severe outcomes) are advised to wear a mask in indoor public places. In addition, they should make sure to get up to date on their COVID-19 vaccines or get their 2nd booster, if eligible.

“While case counts are rising, we would urge the public not to be alarmed, but to be aware of this trend and to take action by making sure they are up-to-date with vaccinations and booster shots,” said IDPH Acting Director Amaal Tokars.

“In addition, in areas that are rated at a Medium Community Level, people who are elderly or immunocompromised are strongly advised to mask up in indoor places. And if you test positive, you should consult with a healthcare provider about obtaining a prescription for one of the therapeutic treatments that are widely available. The treatments are much more effective at preventing hospitalizations and deaths when they are taken early in the course of the illness.”

IDPH has been supporting pharmacies and healthcare providers in efforts to increase their inventories of the various FDA-authorized treatments. There are more than 1,200 treatment locations in Illinois — including all the major retail pharmacies.

More than 96.7% of the state’s population is within a 10-mile radius of one of these locations.

A total of 22,099,637 vaccines have been administered in Illinois. The seven-day rolling average of vaccines administered daily is 11,586 doses.

Since May 6, 2022, 81,101 doses were reported administered in Illinois.  Of Illinois’ total population, more than 76% has received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose, more than 69% of Illinois’ total population is fully vaccinated, and more than 51% of the vaccinated population is boosted according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Data indicates that the risk of hospitalization and severe outcomes from COVID-19 is much higher for unvaccinated people than for those who are up to date on their vaccinations.

State health officials are stressing the following precautions for those who are at high risk for serious illness:

  • Get vaccinated and stay up-to-date on recommended booster shots to protect yourself, your loved ones and friends.
  • If you are in an area with rising  COVID-19 infections, wear a mask if entering indoor spaces with other people present and consider avoiding large gatherings.
  • Stick to well-ventilated areas if you are not wearing a mask indoors around other people.
  • If you feel flu-like symptoms, self-isolate and stay home from work as well as social gatherings; and obtain a test as quickly as possible.
  • If you test positive, talk to your provider immediately so you can get COVID-19 treatment within five days of starting to feel sick. Also, communicate about the positive result with any persons you have been in close contact within two days of falling sick or testing positive.
  • Continue to frequently wash your hands and cover coughs and sneezes.

All data are provisional and are subject to change.  Additional information and COVID-19 data can be found at

Vaccination is the key to ending this pandemic.  To find a COVID-19 vaccination location near you, go to

The federal government has established a new website that provides an all-purpose toolkit with information on how to obtain masks, treatment, vaccines and testing resources for all areas of the country at:


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