File Photo – COVID-19 testing | Photo: Jakayla Toney (via Unsplash)

The Illinois Department of Public Health issued a warning Thursday about COVID-19 case rates that are “slowly rising in many areas of the state.”

The state health department said that Illinois residents should be “paying close attention to conditions in their local communities and staying up-to-date on their vaccination status.”

“While hospitalizations and deaths tied to COVID-19 remain stable at this time, we are seeing a slow increase in cases in many areas of the State,” said Acting IDPH Director Amaal Tokars.

“This is a reminder that we all need to remain vigilant and remain up to date on our vaccination status. This is especially important for those who are at higher risk for serious outcomes,” Tokars said.

Tokars said that vaccination is the most effective tool against COVID-19.

State health officials said that Illinois remains “strongly positioned to respond in the event of a new COVID-19 surge.”

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The state stockpile of tests has been replenished, with more than 1.5 million rapid tests on hand, and half a million more are on the way.

Hospitals, schools, and long-term care facilities have been urged by the health department to take steps to increase their current testing capacity.

The state is also supporting pharmacies and healthcare providers in efforts to increase their inventories of the various FDA-authorized treatments in case of another surge.

IDPH said they are advising providers to assess their patients quickly after a COVID-19 diagnosis to determine if they are eligible for treatment.

The CDC recently authorized a second booster dose at least four months after the first booster dose for certain segments of the population.

Adults over 50 years of age and people who are immunocompromised — those with a poor ability to fight infections — over 12 years old qualify.

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State health officials urged residents to get vaccinated and wear a mask if entering indoor spaces where COVID-19 infections are rising.

Those with flu-like symptoms should self-isolate and stay home from work and social gatherings, the health department said.