COVID-19 News Update
MARCH 4th, 2022
CDC CHANGES METHOD TO MONITOR COVID-19 LEVELS
On February 25, 2022, the CDC rolled out an updated approach to monitoring the levels of COVID-19 in communities throughout the United States. The new measure, Community COVID-19 Level, is determined by the evaluation of three metrics: new hospitalizations for COVID-19, current hospital beds occupied by COVID-19 patients, and new COVID-19 cases. Community COVID-19 levels are reported as high, medium, or low and are represented by colors dark orange, yellow and green. The Community COVID-19 Level will guide communities in determining the necessary COVID-19 prevention mitigations.
The new approach, according to CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky, moves away from simply monitoring the number of COVID-19 cases and test positivity rates, to evaluating factors that reflect the community-based severity of COVID-19 including hospitalizations and hospital capacity. It focuses prevention efforts towards protecting those who are at high risk of developing a severe illness from COVID-19 and preventing hospitals and healthcare systems from becoming overwhelmed.
For more detailed information, the CDC media telebriefing can be read here.
The CDC also provides an overview of these changes and an interactive graph to determine community COVID-19 levels by county, throughout the United States.
Keep It Up Will County!
We are all anxious to move on from this pandemic and current data reveals a downward trend of COVID-19 cases. Vaccination remains our best tool to recover from this pandemic and get back to the things we love. A declining case rate and a rising vaccination rate gains us the upper hand in this pandemic.
If you are not vaccinated, call us; we will listen to your questions, provide information & guidance, & help you schedule a vaccine appointment.
To keep you most informed, we have been refreshing our web pages. If you haven’t visited our website recently, take a look.
IS THIS THE DECLINE THAT WE HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR?
During the February 23rd American Medical Association podcast, Andrea Garcia, AMA’s Director of Science, Medicine and Public Health, shared encouraging COVID-19 case and vaccination data, and a study providing reassuring information regarding COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy.
- The current daily average of cases which is slightly more than 100,000, has declined more than 80% from its peak in mid-January!
- Hospitalizations and those in ICU, which are more significant data markers, have declined by approximately 40% since the beginning of February. Daily COVID-19 hospitalizations are reported at approximately 67,000 per day.
- 7 million people in the U.S. are fully vaccinated, approximately 65% of the population. Almost 92.8 million individuals have received a booster dose.
- A recent CDC study has discovered that COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy has reduced newborn hospitalizations due to SARS-CoV-2 by 61% during the infants first 6 months.
Encouraging continued vigilance and vaccination
- To date, 78 million people have been infected with COVID-19 in the U.S. and deaths are nearing 1 million. Nationally, there are still approximately 2,000 COVID-19 deaths per day, with 14 states currently reporting daily rate increases.
- Last week the CDC published a study that reviewed pediatric hospitalizations during the Omicron and Delta surges. Comparing the peak outbreak periods during both surges, the study uncovered that weekly pediatric hospitalizations were four times greater during Omicron than Delta, with children younger than five having the largest increase in hospitalizations—5 times higher during the Omicron surge.
Click here to read the full transcript or listen to the podcast.
CDC recommends changes to timing of 2nd dose vaccine for the general population
The CDC has recommended changes to the timing of the 2nd dose, COVID-19 vaccine. New data suggests that an 8-week interval may be optimal for some people ages 12 years and older as studies have shown higher SARS-CoV-2 antibody levels from extending the time between the first and second doses. This change is also recommended for males between the ages of 12 and 39 to further reduce the relatively small risk of myocarditis.
The previously suggested 3 or 4 week interval is still recommended for those who have moderate to severe immunocompromised conditions, adults age 65 and older, and others who need rapid protection due to concern about risk of severe illness.
Click here to view the vaccination timeline schedules for all COVID-19 vaccines.
CDC has revised its COVID-19 vaccination guidance for individuals who are moderately to severely immunocompromised.
This new guidance indicates that an additional booster dose (4th dose) should be received at least 3 months after completion of the primary, 3-dose, mRNA vaccine series. This has changed from the previous 5-month recommendation. This revision is based on studies demonstrating the effectiveness of the body’s ability to provoke an adequate immune response to the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
What are moderate and severe immunocompromising conditions and treatment?
Moderate and severe immunocompromising conditions and treatments include but are not limited to:
- Active treatment for solid tumor and hematologic malignancies
- Receipt of solid-organ transplant and taking immunosuppressive therapy
- Receipt of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-T-cell therapy or hematopoietic cell transplant (HCT) (within 2 years of transplantation or taking immunosuppression therapy)
- Moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (e.g., DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome)
- Advanced or untreated HIV infection (people with HIV and CD4 cell counts <200/mm3, history of an AIDS-defining illness without immune reconstitution, or clinical manifestations of symptomatic HIV)
- Active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids (i.e., ≥20 mg prednisone or equivalent per day when administered for ≥2 weeks), alkylating agents, antimetabolites, transplant-related immunosuppressive drugs, cancer chemotherapeutic agents classified as severely immunosuppressive, tumor necrosis factor (TNF) blockers, and other biologic agents that are immunosuppressive or immunomodulatory
It is recommended that immunocompromised individuals consult with their medical provider about COVID-19 vaccination.
Beginning March 14, 2022, the hours of operation of the COVID-19 vaccine clinic at Ella Ave. in Joliet will change as follows:
501 Ella Avenue, Joliet, IL 60433
• Tuesdays: 1:30-5:30pm
• Thursdays: 9:00am-5:30pm
323 Quadrangle Drive, Bolingbrook, IL 60440
• Wednesdays: 10:00am–5:30pm
Isolation and Quarantine guidelines
On January 27, 2022, IDPH adopted CDC guidance on shortening the isolation and quarantine periods for COVID-19 for the general public. This change may allow individuals to reduce their quarantine or isolation days from ten to five days, however, continued masking remains critical. Individuals with immunocompromised conditions should consult with their medical provider. Schools and certain industries such as healthcare may require additional safety requirements.
Daycare and Early Care & Education
The CDC and DCFS issued new guidance for staff and children in Early Care and Education (ECE). The key changes within this guidance include a reduction in quarantine and isolation time from 14 days to 10 days and the ability to consider the previously announced 5-day quarantine protocol. The 5-day quarantine option applies only to those 3 years or older, who can consistently wear a mask when around others, and comply with other post-exposure or COVID-19 infection requirements. For those who are unable to consistently mask, a 10-day quarantine is recommended.
Since most ECE programs provide care for children who are not eligible for vaccination, it is imperative for ECE programs to use multiple strategies to prevent COVID-19 and minimize its transmission.
To review the full DCFS COVID-19 ECE Guidance, click HERE.
Uncertain how long to quarantine?
Use the CDC quarantine chart to guide your way.
Get free at-home COVID-19 tests
Every home in the U.S. is eligible to order 4 free at-home COVID-19 tests. The tests are completely free. Orders will usually ship in 7-12 days.
Order your tests now so you have them when you need them.
& MORE! The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) has announced a state distribution program that makes an additional 225,000 test kits available in 14 counties for eligible residents in vulnerable communities. In Will County, eligible individuals residing in zip codes 60432, 60435 and 60436 can order one test kit per household from this program. Each test kit includes 5 tests.
Keep Them Handy!
While masking requirements have eased in Will County and many areas throughout nation, masks continue to be one of the most effective ways to prevent spreading and becoming infected with COVID-19. Masks will continue to be part of the layered prevention strategy, especially during times of high Community COVID-19 levels.
Individuals who are ill with COVID-19, live with or are caring for someone who has COVID-19, should wear a mask. Additionally, wearing a mask is recommended for individuals who are more likely to experience severe illness with COVID-19 such as the elderly and those with immunocompromised conditions.
What type of mask is best? Generally, a mask that fits snugly around your face to prevent air leaks and a mask that is comfortable so that you will be more likely to wear it consistently.
Covid-19 Testing Sites
The Will County Health Department relies our state health department partner, IDPH, and their COVID-19 testing locations to support the testing needs of Will County residents while we deploy our resources toward the preventative measures of timely delivery of booster vaccinations and clinics to support the continually expanding vaccine eligible populations.
There are many testing sites available throughout Will County. If you have a need for testing, we strongly recommend a local retail pharmacy, an IDPH testing site as listed on this page or the WCHD testing location at 501 Ella Avenue.
Click Here for Shield Testing locations including Joliet Junior College (nasal swab method)
Click Here for Appointment scheduling for SHIELD testing location
Nearby IDPH Drive-thru, PCR COVID-19 Testing Locations
(nasal swab method)
- 2450 Farnsworth Rd, Aurora
- 15800 S. State St., South Holland (South Suburban College)
Click Here for Appointment scheduling for IDPH Drive-thru Testing
This can also be completed while in line at the site with a Smart Phone. Once completed, click on visits, and then click on schedule an appointment. This will make all IDPH testing site locations available to the user.
Click here for testing times and an expanded list of testing sites throughout the state.
For updated COVID-19 Youth and School resources, Click Here.
You can access Youth and School Data & Metrics and Youth and School Guidance, including music and sports safety, FAQ’s, testing for COVID-19, and school exclusion protocols.
To review the full DCFS COVID-19 Early Care and Education Guidance, Click Here.
Secure Your Vaccination Card
How important is your vaccination card? It is part of your medical record. It may be needed to travel and to gain entry into businesses or social venues. It may be required for your employment record. Keep it in a secure and accessible place as you would your state ID. Bring it with you when getting any additional COVID-19 vaccinations so it can be updated.
Want your vaccination record on your smartphone? The Vax Verify immunization portal now offers the SMART™ Health Card. The SMART™ Health Card allows users to download a QR code and access your vaccination record from your Smartphone.
Pfizer Request for COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 6 months to 4 years delayed.
On February 1st, Pfizer-BioNTech submitted data to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) supporting their request to extend its COVID-19 vaccine, Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) to children ages 6 months to 4 years. On February 11th, the FDA communicated that it would delay discussion on vaccine approval for this age group until Pfizer provides more clinical trial data showing vaccine effectiveness in a three-dose vaccine series. Pfizer expects to have this data by early April.
Will County Pediatric Pfizer (ages 5-11) Vaccine Providers
Pediatricians, Pharmacies, Federally Qualified Health Centers, Will County Health Department and other community partners will be providing Pediatric COVID-19 Vaccine to children ages 5 to 11.
On March 11, WCHD will offer Pediatric Pfizer Vaccine, 1st dose appointments at the WCHD Bolingbrook office at 323 Quadrangle Drive, Bolingbrook.
Children will be scheduled for their second dose appointment at the same location on 4/1/22.
Third doses for immunocompromised children aged 5-11 years old
The CDC is recommending that moderately or severely immunocompromised children aged 5-11 years receive a third dose of vaccine 28 days after their second dose. At this time, only Pfizer-BioNTech is authorized for children. Parents should talk with their pediatrician or health care provider about a potential third dose.
Pfizer and Moderna Booster Dose for 18+ Now Recommended after 5 months
Will County Health Department and the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) has adopted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendation to shorten the interval from 6 months to 5 months for when people who have received the Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines can get a booster dose.
Pfizer Booster Dose
for 12-17 Year Olds
Booster doses have been approved for all persons aged 12-17 years at least five months after their primary series under the FDA’s Emergency Use Authorization.
The Updated FDA’s Emergency Use Authorization Form can be accessed HERE.
THIRD DOSE & BOOSTER
CDC Updates Interim Clinical Considerations for Booster Doses for Immunocompromised Individuals
The CDC has updated its recommendations for vaccine doses for people with moderate or severe immunocompromised conditions. Review the chart below or click here for more detailed information.
CDC COVID-19 vaccination schedule for people with moderate or severe immunocompromised conditions*
*As vaccination recommendations become more complex, we suggest consulting with your health care provider before scheduling your vaccine appointment.
Additional Primary Series Dose (3rd Dose) for People who are Moderately or Severely Immunocompromised.
A Third dose is NOT a booster dose!
CDC’s COVID-19, vaccination guidance includes a 4-dose vaccination series for individuals who are moderately to severely immunocompromised. CDC recommends that some moderately to severely immunocompromised individuals should get an additional primary dose 28 days following the 2nd dose; this would be considered the 3rd dose. Additionally, a booster dose (4th dose) should be received at least 3 months after completion of the primary, 3-dose, mRNA vaccine series. Booster doses are only for ages 12+. This revision is based on studies demonstrating the effectiveness of the body’s ability to provoke an adequate immune response.
More information on 3rd and booster doses for immunocompromised can be found here.
WHO IS ELIGIBLE FOR AN ADDITIONAL PRIMARY SERIES VACCINATION (3RD DOSE)?
Currently, CDC is recommending that moderately to severely immunocompromised people ages 5 and up receive an additional dose. This includes people who have:
- Been receiving active cancer treatment for tumors or cancers of the blood
- Received an organ transplant and are taking medicine to suppress the immune system
- Received a stem cell transplant within the last 2 years or are taking medicine to suppress the immune system
- Moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (such as DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome)
- Advanced or untreated HIV infection
- Active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids or other drugs that may suppress your immune response
If your condition or medication isn’t on this list and you think you have a weakened immune system, talk to your healthcare provider about your medical condition and whether getting an additional dose is appropriate.
Individuals can self-attest and receive the third dose wherever vaccines are offered. This will help ensure there are not additional barriers to access for this vulnerable population receiving a needed third dose.
WHEN ARE YOU ELIGIBLE
The additional primary series dose (3rd dose) of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine should be the same vaccine as the initial series and administered at least four weeks after completing a primary mRNA COVID-19 vaccine series. If you have received a Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine, consult with your health provider for your next vaccination option.
BOOSTER DOSES FOR IMMUNOCOMPROMISED INDIVIDUALS
Everyone 12 years and older, including immunocompromised people, should get a booster shot. If you are eligible for an additional primary shot (3rd dose), you should get this dose first before you get a booster shot. Booster doses are recommended at least 3 months following completion of your primary series vaccination.
Click here for the COVID-19 vaccination timeline for immunocompromised individuals.
ADDITIONAL CONSIDERATIONS FOR IMMUNOCOMPROMISED INDIVIDUALS
While vaccination is likely to increase protection in this population, individuals who are immunocompromised should always consult with their healthcare provider for guidance. Even after vaccination, immunocompromised individuals should continue following the current prevention measures including wearing a mask, staying 6 feet apart from others they do not live with, and avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated indoor spaces to protect themselves and those around them against COVID-19.
Click a link below to schedule your first dose vaccine online.
Schedule an Appointment Online or Call to Schedule your Vaccination at a Will County Health Department Vaccination Clinic.
VACCINES FOR HOMEBOUND
Do you know someone who is interested in receiving a COVID vaccine who is unable to get out of the house due to medical limitations?
Consider applying for our homebound vaccination program through the Will County Health Department! Click the link to apply, and we will follow up with you as soon as we can! We want to get everyone vaccinated, especially those who are most at-risk and homebound.
Public Health Centralizing COVID-19 Contact Tracing
Contact tracing was vital during the beginning stages of the pandemic to aid in slowing the spread of COVID-19. With the availability of effective vaccines, a greater understanding of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and the spike in cases due to the highly transmissible Omicron variant, several national public health agencies recommend that public health agencies “empower the public to act when they suspect a COVID-19 infection” and transition away from investigating individual cases of infection. Contact tracing will remain a public health tool more effectively utilized for disease prevention in vulnerable populations and outbreak investigations in more concentrated populations such as congregate residential settings and schools.
Will County Health Department’s contact tracing efforts have shifted to high-risk settings such as skilled nursing facilities and for those who are at the greater risk of developing adverse outcomes due to COVID.
WILL COUNTY EQUITY HIGHLIGHT OF THE WEEK
Artwork by Joliet Artist:
Our equity team has continued to make progress in the community by establishing trust and working side-by-side with trusted messengers such as community-based organizations and other community partners. With the help of partners, such as the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA), over 1800 people have received vaccinations at convenient, neighborhood pop-up locations organized by our team since the beginning of the year. This is in addition to those vaccinated in our on-site and partner clinics! Reaching our most vulnerable populations continues to be a priority and to do so, we are engaging the community and working to meet community members where they are. This includes working with community-based organizations, local government, local fire departments, faith-based community, Chamber of Commerce/Business community, schools, arts community, pharmacies, apartment complexes, community centers, and other healthcare providers and clinics to expand our education and outreach. To this effort, our community-based organizations have reached and engaged over 75,558 community members regarding COVID-19 vaccinations so far this year.
To our residents – thank you for taking notice of our presence in the community, working with us, and doing your part! These interactions and conversations are making a difference. Through these community connections we can continue to increase our vaccination rates, lower our COVID-19 positivity rates even further, and work to meet the essential needs of Will County residents during this pandemic and beyond.
To learn more about our efforts, programs, or to find a vaccination location near you, please visit our website at: www.willcountyhealth.org or https://www.facebook.com/WilCountyHealthDepartment/.
COVID-19 Outpatient Treatment
Therapeutic treatments are available for individuals who have been recently diagnosed with COVID-19 or as a preventative medication for those, who due to being severely immunocompromised, are likely not to produce an effective vaccine response.
However, access to these treatments is extremely limited. Supply is limited in quantity and location. Regional hospital coordination centers, the population in IDPH COVID-19 regions, and participation and selection as a federal pharmacy partner were considered when determining supply allocations. Long term care facilities have been allocated supply through their participating pharmacies.
Due to limited supply, how these medications are administered, treatment effectiveness, and potential side effects, eligibility for these medications is very restricted. These medications require a prescription and eligibility must be determined by the individual’s physician.
Click here to find locations providing COVID-19 therapeutics.
Pop-Up Vaccine Clinics
Beecher 200 U
660 Penfield St, Beecher
March 26th from 9am to 1pm
Adult & Pediatric Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson Clinic
Plainfield Public Library District
15025 S Illinois St, Plainfield
March 26th from 11am to 3pm
Adult & Pediatric Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson Clinic
St. Peter's Lutheran Church GYM
310 N Broadway St, Joliet
March 26th from 10am to 3pm
Adult & Pediatric Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson Clinic
Joliet Public Library Black Road Branch
3395 Black Rd, Joliet
March 26th from 11:30am to 3:30pm
Adult & Pediatric Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson Clinic
C.W. Avery Family YMCA
15120 W Wallin Dr, Plainfield
March 27th from 9am to 3pm
Adult & Pediatric Pfizer, & Moderna Clinic
FIND A COMMUNITY VACCINATION CLINIC IN YOUR AREA
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(use the little arrow that will appear when you hover over the County column to sort by County)
You can also zoom on map to a specific area
Availability of Vaccines
COVID-19 vaccines are widely accessible in the United States. Everyone ages 5 years and older should get a COVID-19 vaccination as soon as possible. COVID-19 vaccines are available for everyone at no cost, regardless of their immigration or health insurance status.
Many doctors’ offices, retail pharmacies, hospitals, and clinics offer COVID-19 vaccinations. Visit vaccines.gov to find locations that are offering vaccines to everyone ages 5 years and older. Parents can check with their child’s healthcare provider, their local pharmacy, and health department about whether they offer COVID-19 vaccination. Learn more about how to find a COVID-19 vaccine.
Pop-Up COVID-19 Vaccination Event Request
Do you want to host a Pop-Up COVID-19 Vaccination Event?
Over 65% of the population in Will County Are Fully Vaccinated!
County Level COVID-19 Risk Metrics
Hospital Resource and COVID Patient Data
Vaccinations By Zip Code
County Level COVID-19 Community Transmission Data
Cases: 7 Day Total
Cases: Total Per 100K
Total number of vaccines administered
Total complete doses
of population fully vaccinated
- 46,106 4.03% 4.03%
- 96,453 8.43% 8.43%
- 771,412 67.4% 67.4%
- 230,031 20.1% 20.1%
- 609,330 53.3% 53.3%
- 533,124 46.6% 46.6%
FOLLOW US ON FACEBOOK FOR DAILY VACCINE CLINIC UPDATES
An easy way to stay updated on vaccine clinic hours and availability of appointments is to follow the Will County Health Department on Facebook. We post each morning the locations that are open that day for appointments and walk-ins.
Click here to visit our page and then follow/like us!
Our team of Customer Service Representatives are ready to help answer any question.
Call our COVID-19 Call Center at:
The call center can help…
- Schedule, Reschedule or Cancel your COVID-19 Vaccination Appointment through the Will County Health Department
- Find a COVID-19 Vaccination Location near you
- Find a COVID-19 Testing Location near you
- Answer basic COVID-19 questions:
• Information on available COVID-19 Vaccinations
• General COVID-19 Vaccine related guidelines
• Where to locate guidelines on the CDC website
- Sign up for the Will County Health Department Weekly Newsletter
- Obtain Proof of COVID-19 Vaccinations
Call Center Hours of Operations:
Monday through Thursday from 8:00 AM – 4:30 PM
Friday from 8:00 AM – 3:00 PM