Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker provides a COVID-19 update on Monday in Chicago. | Provided Photo

Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced on Monday that Illinois will double personnel at regional COVID-19 testing and vaccination sites as he urged residents to get vaccinated and get their boosters.

“I’m here today because once again this pandemic is surging and threatening the health of Illinoisans,” Pritzker said as he began a press conference Monday afternoon in Chicago.

Pritzker directed the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) to enhance its partnerships with local health department mass vaccination operations throughout the state to help meet the growing demand for the COVID-19 vaccine booster.

He said that the State of Illinois is more than doubling personnel and adding at least 100 people to regional sites to prepare vaccine doses for clinic personnel, administer vaccines and do data entry.

[Suggested Article]  Wisconsin police seek man with ties to northern Illinois who is wanted for victimizing women met online

Illinois is currently experiencing the most COVID-19 patients in the hospital since December 2020, with over 4,700 patients hospitalized statewide, IDPH data shows.

Starting the week of January 3, the state’s free Community-Based Testing Sites will begin operating six days a week to increase COVID-19 testing availability across the state.

“I’m announcing this surge staffing to support our local health departments to vaccinate and boost tens of thousands more Illinoisans,” Pritzker said.

Community-Based Testing Sites nearest to Lake and McHenry counties include the Waukegan site, located at 102 West Water Street, the Arlington Heights site, located at 823 Wilke Road, and the Rockford site, located at 1321 Sandy Hollow Road.

“We are also increasing testing and continuing to distribute monoclonal antibodies, anti-viral pills and any treatments or personal protective equipment communities need,” Pritzker said.

[Suggested Article]  Lawmakers file amendments to SAFE-T Act that will allow more defendants to be detained pre-trial, clarifies law's language

“I will continue to do everything possible to protect all the people of this state, whatever your vaccine status. But what kind of year 2022 turns out to be depends on all of us doing what is best for all of us,” he added.

IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said COVID-19 vaccines are “highly effective at preventing severe illness and death.”

“Currently, we are seeing a demand for booster doses, but it is critically important for those who have yet to receive even one dose of vaccine to get vaccinated. The vast majority of cases, hospitalization, and deaths are among those who are not vaccinated. COVID-19 can be prevented through vaccination so get vaccinated and get boosted,” Ezike said.

Those interested in receiving a COVID-19 vaccine can visit www.vaccines.gov to find a nearby clinic.

[Suggested Article]  State police updates 'clear and present danger' rules in response to Highland Park mass shooting