Illinois COVID Update Today: IL reports 5,334 new coronavirus cases, 20 deaths
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CHICAGO (WLS) — Illinois reported 5,334 new COVID cases and 20 deaths Thursday.

There have been at least 3,376,596 total COVID cases in the state since the start of the pandemic and, at least 33,979 related deaths.

RELATED | Americans keep getting reinfected with COVID-19 as new variants emerge, data show

The Illinois Department of Health said the daily case rate per 100,000 people is at 33.4.

As of Wednesday night, 1,188 patients in Illinois were reported to be in the hospital with COVID-19. Of those, 129 patients were in the ICU, and 39 patients with COVID-19 were on ventilators. IDPH reports 19% of ICU beds are available.

A total of 22,531,999 vaccine doses have been administered in Illinois as of Wednesday, and 65.07% of the state’s population is fully vaccinated. The seven-day rolling average of vaccines administered daily is 10,239.

The Chicago Department of Public Health said Thursday Cook County, including Chicago, are now in the “medium” COVID-19 community risk level.

CDPH said it still strongly recommends wearing a mask in public indoor settings.

A Food and Drug Administration committee cleared the way Wednesday for Moderna and Pfizer vaccines to be distributed to children 6 months to 5 years of age.

Elena Rosales did her part to make sure her 6-month-old brother can get vaccinated, participating in Lurie Children’s Hospital’s Moderna vaccine trials for kids 5 and under.

“We are proud of her, she wanted to be a part of it, she was excited to do her duty,” said Mariaelena Lozano, her parent.

Because pharmacists are not legally allowed to administer vaccines for kids under 3, pediatrician offices are gearing up to give it out as early as the end of next week.

“We have clinics dedicated just to COVID vaccines, so patients can sign up and come in, we do the, everyday typically,” said Jonathan Necheles of Children’s Healthcare Associates.

Claire Barnes said she plans to bring her 4-year -old daughter, Maya, in as soon as she can.

“No hesitancy for the vaccine, but the question is if there are two available, which one to get,” Barnes said.

Necheles suggested parents pick the one easiest to get.

“Both vaccines are safe. Pfizer and Moderna, we know they both produce very strong immunological response, which is important,” Necheles said.

The side effects for both vaccines are mild, similar to adults. The big difference between both is the dosage. Pfizer is three doses over a 5-month period. Moderna two doses, four weeks apart.

Because only one-third of children 6 to 11 years old are fully vaccinated, Lurie Children Hospital infectious doctors reminded hesitant parents several kids continue to be hospitalized for COVID-19.

“Even though most kids get mild illness, it’s not true for every kid and it’s much more stressful for a child to be in the hospital than it is for child to come to a doctor’s office and get a vaccine,” said Lurie Children’s Hospital Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Bill Muller.

The final FDA authorization could come any time in the next few days. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention must sign off on it, which is expected sometime next week.

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