(4-1-22) Effingham, IL – The Effingham County Health Department (ECHD) announces 14 new cases of COVID have been reported from Friday, March 25 through Thursday, March 31. One female in her teens; one male and one female in their 20’s; two males in their 30’s; one female in her 40’s; one male in his 50’s; one male and two females in their 60’s; one female in her 70’s; one male and one female in their 80’s; and one male in his 90’s.

The Illinois Region 6, 7-day rolling test positivity was down to 1.2% through March 29, with Effingham County at 2.5% for the same period. ICU availability in our region is at 34%.

Data continue to show the importance of vaccination and booster doses to protect individuals both from infection and severe outcomes of COVID-19. No vaccine, including a COVID-19 vaccine, is 100% effective. Your body’s ability to fight off infection can decrease over time. When this happens, a booster can help your body build back immunity. For adults and adolescents eligible for a first booster dose, these shots are safe and provide substantial benefit. During the recent Omicron surge, those who were boosted were 21-times less likely to die from COVID-19 compared to those who were unvaccinated, and 7-times less likely to be hospitalized.

CDC continues to recommend that all eligible adults, adolescents, and children 5 and older be up to date on their COVID-19 vaccines, which includes getting an initial booster when eligible.

This week the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) updated its recommendations to allow certain immunocompromised individuals and people over the age of 50 who received an initial booster dose at least 4 months ago to be eligible for another mRNA booster to increase their protection against severe disease from COVID-19. Separately and in addition, based on newly published data, adults who received a primary vaccine and booster dose of Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen COVID-19 vaccine at least 4 months ago may now receive a second booster dose using an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine.

These updated recommendations acknowledge the increased risk of severe disease in certain populations including those who are elderly or over the age of 50 with multiple underlying conditions, along with the currently available data on vaccine and booster effectiveness.

Whether it’s your first dose or a booster dose, call the Effingham County Health Department on 217-342-9237 and choose the CLINIC option to speak to someone who can check your eligibility and book your appointment.

ECHD reminds residents that free drive-through rapid Antigen Tests are available Monday through Friday from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. and again from 2 to 3 p.m. at 1904 South Banker St. in the old oil change place in front of the Village Square Mall.

• No insurance is required for these free tests.
• This service is available to anyone seeking testing.
• For ages 5+.
• No appointment or physician order required.
• Rapid results the same day.
• Drive-through
• Rapid tests while supplies last.
• There will be no testing on days the Health Department is closed.

For more information on testing call ECHD on 217-342-9237 and select COVID Testing.

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