Illinois experiencing 'surge' in respiratory viruses: Covid, flu and RSV

Covid-19 and other respiratory viruses are on the rise across Illinois as the holiday season ramps up through the new year.

According to the CDC, the impact of respiratory viruses is being felt in 44 counties. Covid hospitalization data shows that 39 counties are at medium level and five are at a high level. Statewide, more than 1000 hospitalizations have been reported, which is an increase of 20% since last week.

Data indicates that other viruses, including the flu and RSV, are also increasing across the state. Health officials are especially concerned about pediatric ICU capacity, which is limited in many areas of the state, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.

"IDPH is closely working with our health partners to educate the public, monitor our hospital capacity, and develop effective mitigation strategies as we experience this surge," IDPH Director Dr. Sameer Vohra said in a statement. "During this critical period with hospitalizations rising, I encourage all of our residents to use the tools available to keep yourself and your families healthy and protected."

If a person is feeling symptoms of a respiratory virus – coughing, sneezing, sore throat, runny nose or fever – health officials advise to get tested and stay home. Free at-home Covid tests can be obtained through

The IDPH says to protect others, practice good hand hygiene, cover any sneeze or cough, and make sure you're up-to-date on vaccine shots.

In addition, the state health department announced a new Infectious Respiratory Disease Surveillance Dashboard that will be updated every Friday afternoon to show the latest data on hospital visits, seasonal trends, lab test positivity and demographic data.