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Illinois Adopts CDC Guidelines for Respiratory Viruses

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) announced today that it is adopting updated guidance from the CDC that streamline and simplify recommendations for dealing with the range of respiratory viruses, including COVID-19, flu and RSV. The new guidance focuses on protecting those most at risk of serious illness.

The CDC guidance was issued as data indicate respiratory viruses are continuing to circulate around Illinois and the state’s overall respiratory virus level has moved up from Low to Moderate based on an uptick in flu reports. The state remained at Low level for COVID-19 hospitalizations, according to the CDC COVID Data Tracker as of February 24. The data showed that six counties are at Medium levelfor COVID-19 hospitalizations, down from eight the previous week.  There are no counties at High level for COVID-19 hospitalizations.

“IDPH appreciates the new guidance from the CDC that streamlines recommendations across respiratory viruses and provides simple, clear and easy to understand steps for those with COVID-19, flu and RSV,” said IDPH Director Dr. Sameer Vohra. “These new guidelines put the emphasis correctly on protecting those who are most vulnerable to serious illness and hospitalizations. While Illinois is in a better position than we were two months ago, the State is currently experiencing an uptick in our overall respiratory illness level. Individuals 65 and over, those who are immunocompromised, and individuals with chronic medical conditions remain most vulnerable to severe outcomes, and they should continue to use all tools at their disposal to keep themselves protected. 

“Flu season can last until May, and it is not too late to get your flu shot if you haven’t already,” Dr. Vohra added.  “The CDC also released new recommendations this week that allow older adults to now receive an additional dose of this season’s COVID-19 vaccine.  An additional dose for those at highest risk can add protection this spring and summer.”   

The new CDC guidance no longer requires that those who test positive for COVID-19 should isolate for a minimum of five days before returning to work or other activities and instead focuses on isolation until symptoms improve – which could be shorter or longer than five days. The key recommendation for those with any seasonal respiratory virus is to stay home and away from others until their symptoms improve.

The guidance suggests people can return to normal activities when symptoms have been improving for 24 hours - and if a fever was present, it has been gone for 24 hours without use of a fever-reducing medication.


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