CHICAGO - With surging COVID-19 cases, look for an increase of staffing at vaccination sites in Illinois.
Governor JB Pritzker says the state is more than doubling personnel to give out shots to tens of thousands more people each day, as Omicron increases demand.
"To get more shots in arms, we are coordinating with local health departments, expanding capacity by assisting them with surge staffing to help administer the vaccinations," said Pritzker.
The state also will expand community based testing sites. Starting January 3, they’ll begin operating six days a week, instead of four. This comes as Illinois' top doctor says we’re seeing the biggest surge in cases yet, and more worrying, hospitalizations keep trending up.
"It continues to be the case that vast, vast majority of cases, hospitalizations and deaths are among those who are not vaccinated. COVID can be prevented through vaccination," said Dr. Ngozi Ezike, IDPH Director.
State officials warn that hospital workers are exhausted, overworked and toiling in facilities that could run out of beds, if unvaccinated people keep filling them up.
"If we are forced to move to a crisis standard of care in our hospitals, it will be because of massive numbers of unvaccinated people chose to let others go without quality care, and even more people will die," said Pritzker.
When it comes to more holiday celebrations this week as we approach the new year, Dr. Ezike warns each gathering will have one or more unwanted guests; Omicron and Delta. So again, she encourages small groups, masking, vaccinations and boosters.
"What kind of year 2022 turns out to be depends on all of us doing what is best for all of us. If you are unvaccinated and get very sick, you'll be filling a bed that would've been available for your ailing spouse, or your parent or your child, or someone else's child," Pritzker said.
Last week, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) reported 77,246 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Illinois, including an increase of 318 deaths.
Meanwhile, symptoms of the omicron COVID-19 variant may make you think you have the flu or a cold.