New COVID-19 cases drop by 27% on average in October, yes to mingling flu and COVID shots
The average number of new COVID-19 cases has dropped by 27% this month compared to September's average, Illinois Department of Public Health data indicated Tuesday.
So far, new infections for October have averaged 2,538.5 a day in contrast with September's average of 3,485.5, records showed.
Meanwhile, the seven-day rolling average for new COVID-19 cases hit the lowest point of the month on Tuesday at 2,416.
On Thursday and Friday, U.S. Food and Drug Administration experts are expected to review separate requests for COVID-19 booster shot approvals from Moderna Inc. and Johnson & Johnson.
Meanwhile, health officials say it's safe to get a COVID-19 booster shot and flu shot at the same time.
"It is," Chicago Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said at a weekly public briefing.
Early in the pandemic, "we made the recommendation that you not get a COVID-19 shot at the same time as any other vaccine because we were still learning about side effects. We wanted to make sure we were not seeing anything unexpected.
"At this point, where almost half the world's population has got a COVID vaccine and there have been many more studies -- you absolutely can get a COVID shot and a flu shot at the same time. I am actually planning to do that."
That recommendation also goes for other vaccines, she added. "Can you get COVID and shingles shots? Yes. Can you get a booster and a HPV vaccine (against cervical cancer)? Yes. There's no need to separate COVID-19 doses from any other vaccine doses."
More guidance about vaccines should be coming after the FDA meeting, Arwady predicted.
The Centers for Disease Control has recommended that people age 65 and older and those in nursing homes or individuals ages 50 to 64 with serious medical conditions should get a Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine booster shot. Those aged 18 to 49 with underlying medical conditions or workers ages 18 to 64 in higher-risk occupations, like health care, may get Pfizer boosters.
Also Tuesday, DuPage County announced it will reopen a mass vaccination site for booster shots today at the fairgrounds in Wheaton. Cook and Lake county health departments do not plan to reopen mass vaccination sites.
But "we are monitoring demand closely," Cook County Health spokeswoman Elizabeth Pedersen said.
Kane County's health department has kept its Vax Hub site in Batavia open two days a week.
Over the holiday weekend 7,862 new COVID-19 cases occurred in Illinois, with 64 more deaths from the respiratory disease.
Illinois hospitals were treating 1,646 COVID-19 patients Monday night.
On Monday, 20,199 more COVID-19 shots were administered. The seven-day average is 27,307.
Typically COVID-19 data is not announced on the weekend and Monday's holiday also delayed reporting.
There were 1,434 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday and 31 deaths, 2,718 new cases on Sunday with 16 deaths, 1,783 new cases on Monday with five deaths, and 1,927 on Tuesday with 12 deaths.
The federal government has delivered 17,827,835 doses of vaccine to Illinois since distribution began in mid-December and 14,893,187 shots have been administered.
So far, 7,127,426 people have been fully vaccinated, nearly 56% of Illinois' 12.7 million population. Vaccines manufactured by Pfizer Inc. and Moderna Inc. require two doses several weeks apart.
The state's positivity rate for COVID-19 cases is 2% based on a seven-day average.
Total cases statewide stand at 1,657,970 and 25,288 Illinoisans have died since the pandemic began.
Labs processed 96,693 virus tests in the last 24 hours.