The highly infectious Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants are continuing to spread rapidly across the country, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These subvariants are better able to elude antibodies created by COVID vaccines and seem to spread faster and more easily than previous variants. People can become reinfected with the BA.5 variant in as little as four weeks.
However, even while subvariants are causing more symptomatic infections, data is showing that persons who are vaccinated continue to have significantly lower rates of hospitalization and death than persons who are unvaccinated. Cook County Health is continuing to encourage everyone to take personal protective measures, including staying up-to-date on their booster shots and to wearing a high-quality face mask when in close proximity to others.
Both Pfizer and Moderna are working on developing variant-specific vaccines that provide enhanced protection against BA.4 and BA.5. The U.S. has agreed to purchase more than 170 million doses of these vaccines, with the option to buy 300 million from each company pending additional funding from Congress. The variant-specific vaccines are expected to be available this fall. Patients can make appointments at for a COVID-19 vaccine or test by clicking the link below or by calling the CCH COVID Hotline at 833-308-1988. Individuals who test positive may also call the CCH COVID hotline to be connected to a provider to assess their eligibility for COVID therapeutic treatments including Paxlovid and monoclonal antibodies.
Everyone is urged to take the monkeypox virus seriously.
The monekypox virus (MPV) is part of the same family of viruses as variola virus, the virus that causes smallpox. MPV symptoms are similar to smallpox symptoms, but milder. While painful, monkeypox is rarely fatal, particularly in the United States.
The 2022 outbreak of MPV has reached 77 counties and resulted in more than 30,000 cases across the globe. More than 10,000 of those cases are in the U.S.
The World Health Organization and the State of Illinois have also declared monkeypox a Public Health Emergency.
The Cook County Department of Public Health (CCDPH) is tracking cases, conducting contact tracing, and providing technical assistance to healthcare providers in its jurisdiction.
The MPV is spread by skin-to-skin contact (particularly intimate contact), prolonged exposure to an infected person’s respiratory droplets, or close contact with lesions/objects that have had contact with bodily lesions (e.g., linens, towels, dishes).
Symptoms include fever, body aches, swollen lymph nodes, and a rash. Any person can get monkeypox, but 98 percent of the cases in this outbreak have been found in men who have sex with men.
Supply of the FDA-approved MPV vaccine, Jynneos, remains limited. Cook County Health (CCH) is striving to prioritize vaccinating individuals who are at highest risk for contracting the virus. CCH is offering MPV screening and vaccination at the CORE Center on Chicago’s West Side. CCH is working closely with the Chicago Department of Public Health and CCDPH to ensure clinical sites are prepared for MPV diagnostics, patient education, vaccination and treatment.
CCDPH is also working with other suburban hospitals, clinics, and pharmacies to establish partnerships to provide vaccine in suburban communities. CCDPH continues to receive limited supply of vaccine from the Strategic National Stockpile through the Illinois Department of Public Health.
While any person can get the MPV, MPV vaccine is not recommended for the general public. CCH is offering monkeypox screenings and vaccinations by appointment. To make an appointment, call 312-572-4500 and press 0.
Cooling centers are available throughout Cook County during periods of excessive heat.
When temperatures in Cook County are expected to rise to unsafe levels, the County's Department of Emergency Management and Regional Security provides an updated list of cooling centers for residents who do not have access to air conditioning.
During hot weather, residents are reminded to:
With energy costs rising, now is the perfect time to explore the benefits of solar energy to save money on utility bills.
For a third year, Cook County is co-sponsoring Grow Solar Chicagoland, a solar group buy program run by the Midwest Renewable Energy Association and Citizens Utility Board. This program makes solar more affordable and easier to attain for Chicagoland residents through community education and volume purchasing. The more residents who participate, the lower the cost. The program will close on Friday, September 30, 2022.
Since the program began, 114 Cook County residents installed a total of 743 kW of solar through the program.
Learn more about solar energy for your home and about the Grow Solar program by attending a free Solar Power Hour presentation.
Topics covered include:
--how to participate in Grow Solar Chicagoland
--the basics of solar market trends
--how to tell if a site is suitable for solar
To learn more about the program visit www.growsolar.org/chicagoland.
We’re having a birthday party to celebrate the Chicago Botanic Garden’s first half-century of remarkable growth, forward-thinking conservation initiatives, and mission-driven programming.
Our celebration and special programming runs now through September 25. Click the link to find out more.
Cook County residents who need a ride to a vaccination site can call 833-308-1988 to schedule it. The program is open to city residents who want a ride to a Cook County Health vaccination site in the city, and to suburban residents who want a ride to any vaccination site in suburban Cook County.
The service is free.
For the homebound . . .
Cook County Department of Public Health COVID-19 Vaccine Provider Partners are providing in-home COVID-19 vaccinations for suburban Cook County residents who are unable to leave home due to age, disability, or medical impairment. Restrictions apply.
The CTA’s 2022 Holiday Food Train Committee is accepting requests for food donation from non-profit organizations that serve the homeless community and/or low-income individuals.
All organizations interested in being considered to receive a donation of holiday food boxes must email a request by August 19, 2022.
Send your request on the organization’s letterhead via email to email@example.com. Your request must state your organization’s mission statement as well as whom, how, and why you serve. Indicate why your constituency would benefit if selected to receive a donation of holiday food baskets, and provide the name and contact information of the organization’s staff person that will be CTA’s point person. State in the request that a staff member will meet CTA staff at their assigned delivery time to receive the food donation from the CTA’s Holiday Train Committee.
The food donation will include non-perishable ingredients for an American holiday meal to serve six servings (as indicated by the FDA). The ingredients in each box are: a canned ham, a box of powder potatoes, canned vegetables, a box of stuffing and a bag of cookies. These items are purchased with the generosity of funds donated by CTA staff. Based on the funds collected will determine the number of holiday food boxes the CTA Holiday Food Train Program will be able to donate this year. Please note that submitting a request does not guarantee selection. All organizations selected to receive a donation will be notified by November 30th.
Cook County is responsible for providing essential services in the areas of public safety, public health, the court system, elections, tax assessment and appeals, recording deeds, and managing forest preserves. As an independent-minded member of the Board, I have worked hard to combine fiscal responsibility with social awareness. I am honored to serve the people of the 9th district, which includes: portions of the far northwest side of Chicago; Park Ridge, River Forest, Elmwood Park, Harwood Heights, Mount Prospect, Norridge, River Grove, Rosemont, and Schiller Park; portions of Arlington Heights, Melrose Park, Morton Grove, Niles, and Prospect Heights; and unincorporated Norwood Park, Maine, and Wheeling Townships.
The Cook County Clerk's office and website can guide you through how to obtain birth and death certificates, marriage and domestic partner licenses, notary commissions, and much more.
Cook County celebrates Women's History Month with the Unsung Heroine Awards.
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