Health officials are urging precautions such as wearing a mask in indoor spaces and making sure everyone in your family six months and older gets vaccinated against COVID-19 and receives their flu shot.

Precautions Advised as Chicago and Cook County Return to ‘Medium' COVID Alert Level, Flu Cases Rise

With Chicago and suburban Cook County back under an elevated COVID alert level, health officials are reiterating precautions to reduce the spread of respiratory viruses, especially with more gatherings planned through the end of the year.

Both Chicago and Cook County shifted from “low” to “medium” community level status Friday following a rise in metrics, according to the Chicago Department of Public Health.

Dr. Juanita Mora, an allergist and immunologist with the Chicago Allergy Center, says more than just COVID-19 is affecting Chicagoans.

“The ‘medium’ risk level is right now both for COVID-19 and for influenza… and we are already seeing tons of RSV,” she explained.

Following Thanksgiving gatherings, Mora predicts a surge in all three viruses. Marginalized communities, such as Chicago’s Black and Latino communities, are expected to be affected the most.

“They were the two communities with the lowest vaccination rate, and it still stands today, which means there is a lot of work to continue doing in these communities,” stated Mora.

Health officials urge everyone to take precautions, such as wearing a mask in indoor spaces and making sure everyone in your family six months and older gets vaccinated against COVID-19 and receives their flu shot.

Whether or not you decide to get the shot or wear a mask, it’s highly recommended you stay home if feeling sick.

Free COVID vaccines are available at pharmacies across Chicago and the suburbs, including CVS and Walgreens. Mora encourages people who haven’t been vaccinated to get their shots now, because they could potentially cost $80 starting Jan. 1.

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