Health

 

Please note:  Locations in and near Des Plaines where you can get tested for COVID-19 include:

  • Holy Family Plaza Pharmacy, Des Plaines. 1400 E. Golf Rd., #101. Call:  847-296-1400.  10:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday. 9:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday. Patients should make an appointment and upload all required documents. Without insurance, cost is $25 for rapid response test, $125 for PCR.
  • Advocate Medical Group Immediate Care Center, Des Plaines, 77 W. Rand Rd. (near Rand and Central roads). Walk in if have symptoms. If asymptomatic, make an appointment. 847-298-0310. 8 a.m.-8 p.m., Monday-Friday. 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday & Sunday. 
  • Flick Park Field House, 3600 Glenview Rd., Glenview. Monday-Friday, 9:30 a.m.-6 p.m. and Saturday 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Free. By appointment only. 
  • NorthShore Immediate Care, 1535 Ellinwood St., Des Plaines (just east of the library at Ellinwood and Pearson). Walk-in. Call before coming:  224-364-2273. Need not be a NorthShore University HealthSystem patient. Symptoms or not, can go to any NorthShore location for a test. On Ellinwood: 9 a.m.-6:45 p.m. Monday-Friday and 8 a.m.-4:45 p.m. Saturday-Sunday.
  • Walgreens, 1378 Miner St., Des Plaines. Call:  847-296-3958. Appointments must be made online: walgreens.com/covid19testing  
  • Northwest Community Healthcare, Mount Prospect Immediate Care Center, 199 W. Rand Rd. Appointments required. Call:  847-618-5400.
  • Physicians Immediate Care, 123 S. Northwest Hwy., Park Ridge. Call:  224-585-7000.  8 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Friday. 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. Other locations in this area.
  • CVS, 2648 Dempster St., Park Ridge. By appointment only. cvs.com. Call:  847-298-2802.
  • Arlington Heights Health Center (part of Cook County Health), 3250 N. Arlington Heights Rd., Arlington Heights. Drive-up testing in parking lot. To make an appointment, call:  312-864-2749. 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m., Monday-Saturday.
  • Meijer, 1301 Meijer Dr., Rolling Meadows. Appointment required. 
  • Chicago--Northeastern Illinois University, 5500 N. St. Louis Ave. (part of University of Illinois SHIELD saliva test sites, partnering with Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH)). Open to all, symptoms or not. Appointments not required. But to make one, use agency code df5brbrj. At Northeastern: 9 a.m.-12noon Monday & Wednesday, 2-5 p.m. Tuesday & Thursday.

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In the news... President Joe Biden's recent declaration that the COVID-19 pandemic is "over" can't help but hamper ongoing efforts in the battle to get the virus under control, according to members of the public health community.

courtesy CDC

Biden's timing was questionable; his comments were aired during a Sunday broadcast of the CBS network's 60 Minutes program, and soon after raised the ire of public health experts, who are trying to persuade Americans to get a new booster shot for COVID-19.

The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak a global pandemic in March 2020. WHO has not said the world is finished with the pandemic. Neither have public health officials in the United States.

Just before the Labor Day holiday weekend, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) followed the recommendation of advisors and endorsed the first updated COVID-19 booster shots directed at the Omicron variant.

More on the State of COVID-19 Numbers

On Tuesday, WHO statistics showed more than 609.8 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 globally, with more than 6.5 million confirmed deaths.

Also Tuesday, the CDC reported more than 95.5 million total cases in the U.S., with a total death count of more than 1 million. 

More on FDA OK of New Booster

The CDC acted quickly after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted emergency use authorization (EUA). The retooled formulas of these updated boosters target the very contagious BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants of Omicron. Known as bivalent COVID-19 vaccines, they include parts of the original virus strain and Omicron.

The bivalent Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines are for use as a single booster dose at least two months after finishing the primary (initial set of shots) or booster vaccination

  • Moderna's updated booster can be administered to individuals at least 18 years old. 
  • Pfizer-BioNTech's, to those 12 years of age and older.

In an interview with National Public Radio (NPR) before Labor Day, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said:

"...What we've seen is that almost everybody who is eligible for a boost is far more beyond two months from their last shot. Certainly we wouldn't want somebody to get a boost too soon, and we wouldn't want you to get a boost before two months. But I would say if you're three, four, five months after your last shot, now is the time to go ahead and get it."

More on Suspension of Ordering At-Home COVID Tests

Still available:  If you are blind, you can continue to request free Ellume tests, which can read the results to you via a smartphone app (for Ellume). Also, you can call 888-677-1199 from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. (eastern time), Monday through Friday. Or, email DIAL@usaginganddisability.org.

Cook County At Medium Level for COVID-19

Cook County, Illinois, which includes the City of Chicago and many suburbs, now is back to a medium community level for COVID-19. And it has been for many days. For a considerable time before that, it was at a high community level. That's according to the CDC.   

Latest on Monkeypox

The CDC posted Monday the Monkeypox outbreak totals more than 62,000 cases globally, while reporting Tuesday a total of more than 24,000 cases in the U.S. This outbreak may be slowing in the U.S., but health officials still urge people to take precautions.

The FDA recently approved a plan to make the most of the Monkeypox vaccine that is available. The Imvanex vaccine, often called JYNNEOS, now can be given between layers of skin--intradermally. This way, only a fifth of the full dose is needed for each individual.

The administration of President Joe Biden declared Monkeypox a public health emergency in the U.S., which leads the world in the number of cases. WHO declared the fast-spreading Monkeypox a global public health crisis on July 23. Illinois remains in sixth place, with a total of more than 1,200 cases.

The Monkeypox virus has majorly impacted the LGBTQ community in that it appears to affect mostly men who have sex with other men. Although health officials also note anyone can be infected. It is transmitted through close and protracted skin-to-skin contact, plus the sharing of bedding, towels and clothing. This type of Monkeypox is rarely fatal, but it results in painful lesions and blisters.

Hearing Aids

A final rule issued recently by the FDA will allow Americans with mild to moderate hearing loss to buy hearing aids over the counter from stores, pharmacies and online retailers without a prescription or a doctor's appointment.

With expected implementation in mid-October, this move is designed to improve access to hearing aids, which may in turn, lower costs for millions of Americans. Nearly 30 million adults would be helped by wearing hearing aids, the FDA wrote in an announcement.

CDC Revised Guidance About COVID-19

In a relaxation of certain rules, the CDC recently released updated COVID-19 pandemic guidance.

This revision:

  • lifts the requirement to quarantine if exposed to the virus
  • de-emphasizes the screening of individuals without symptoms
  • updates protocols in schools, removing a recommendation for test-to-stay after potential exposure.

"This guidance acknowledges that the pandemic is not over, but also helps us move to a point where COVID-19 no longer severely disrupts our daily lives," CDC spokesperson Greta Massetti said in a statement. "We know that COVID-19 is here to stay," she added in remarks during a press briefing.

New COVID-19 Vaccine

CDC Director Walensky recently announced approval of another COVID-19 vaccine, from biotechnology company Novavax. It is for adults at least 18 years old. Will Novavax prevent "breakthrough" infections? No.  Like other COVID-19 vaccines, breakthrough cases, whereby an individual who is vaccinated still gets COVID-19, still happen. 

The new Novavax product is a type of COVID-19 vaccine built on different technology, known as a protein subunit. It packages harmless proteins of the COVID-19 virus alongside another ingredient, an adjuvant, that helps the human immune system respond to the virus in the future. Four COVID-19 vaccines now are authorized for emergency use or were approved by the FDA.

Walensky approved a recommendation from a CDC advisory panel for use of the Novavax vaccine. This followed an FDA advisory committee's favorable vote in early June. Pfizer-BioNTech's and Moderna's vaccines are "messenger" or mRNA vaccines. Johnson & Johnson/Janssen's vaccine contains part of a modified virus, the vector virus. 

About Long COVID-19/Post-COVID Conditions

For some individuals who have tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19, there really may be no end to the disease. Those with long COVID can be subject to long-term effects from their infection, also known as Post-COVID-19 (PCC). PCC conditions can feature a wide array of ongoing health problems.

Unvaccinated people who acquired COVID-19 may be at greater risk of long COVID in comparison to those who were vaccinated and experienced breakthrough infections.

Coronavirus Variants

Viruses, by nature, change or mutate. Sometimes these mutations result in a new variant. Some variants emerge and disappear, while others continue. New variants will keep developing. WHO offers a look at the variants of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

In late 2020, the emergence of variants that posed an increased risk to global public health prompted the identification of specific Variants of Interest (VOIs) and Variants of Concern (VOCs). 

New Mental Health Contact Number

A new service is available to people in the midst of a mental health crisis. You can call or text a new three-digit number--988 for help.

988 replaces the phone number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline:  800-273-8255. This much-longer number will remain active, but calls will be routed to 988. It is hoped the much-shorter 988 will make it considerably easier for people to seek and get help.

Privacy and Mental Health Care Apps

Online mental health services have practically exploded in popularity in recent years as an alternative to in-person therapy. Here's what you should know about protecting your privacy.                                                     

Beware of Ticks

Technically it's still summer, and IDPH reminds all Illinoisans to take precautions against tick bites to prevent contracting illnesses such as Lyme disease, spotted fever group rickettsiosis, tularemia, ehrlichiosis, and babesiosis.  

Historic Increase in Overdose Deaths

There was an historic 30 percent increase in overdose deaths in the U.S. from 2019 to 2020, the CDC reported in July. In the period of a year, overdose death rates increased 44 percent for Blacks and 39 percent for American Indian and Alaska Native peoples, according to a new CDC Vital Signs report.

COVID-19 Cases in Illinois

Recently, IDPH announced 26,127 new cases of coronavirus disease and 70 deaths over the previous week. The number of cases has dipped heading into late summer.

Specifically:

  • Friday, August 26 - 24,297 new cases and 82 deaths over the previous week
  • Friday, August 19 - 25,084 new cases and 56 deaths over the previous week
  • Friday, August 12 -- 26,462 new cases and 123 deaths over the previous week
  • Friday, August 5 -- 30,762 new cases and 59 deaths over the previous week
  • Friday, July 29 -- 35,371 new cases and 48 deaths over the previous week
  • Friday, July 22 -- 32,268 new cases and 52 deaths over the previous week
  • Friday, July 15 -- 33,066 new cases and 59 deaths over the previous week
  • Friday, July 8 -- 27,543 new cases and 48 deaths over the previous week

COVID-19 Vaccinations

In Illinois, 23,248,758 vaccines have been administered, IDPH reported recently.  WHO reported August 23 a total of 12,449,443,718 billion doses of vaccine have been administered globally.

Can't Find Your Vaccination Card?

If you have lost or misplaced your vaccination card, a program called Vax Verify can help. Go to cookcountypublichealth.org/ufaq/how-can-i-get-a-copy-of-my-vaccination-card.

Doubtful About Getting Vaccinated?

Still not sure about getting vaccinated? Take a look at getvaccineanswers.org. And/or IDPH.

Cook County Vaccination Program Hotline: 833-308-1988

Other Locations In or Near Des Plaines for COVID-19 Vaccine for Ages 5 and Up 

By appointment or walk-in:

-- CCH Arlington Heights Health Center (3250 N. Arlington Heights Blvd., Arlington Heights). Monday through Saturday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Make an Appointment

Jewel-Osco 1500 Lee St., Des Plaines  Phone: 847-296-7786

Walgreens 1378 Miner St., Des Plaines  847-296-3958

Pharmacies near Des Plaines

Wal-Mart (930 Mount Prospect Plaza, Mount Prospect)  Phone: 847-590-0011

Meijer, Rolling Meadows  847-690-1500

CVS (2648 Dempster St., Park Ridge)  847-298-2802

More on How to Sign Up for Vaccine

Suburban Chicago residents can go to vaccine.cookcountyil.gov or again, phone (833) 308-1988, the county's vaccine enrollment help line. 

Local Vaccination Sites

A portal on the state's coronavirus website (coronavirus.illinois.gov) lists vaccination locations. You also can go to the following sites to try to make an appointment:

Mental Health/Medical Help

Call4Calm connects you to a mental health professional. It's free and anonymous. For English, text talk to 552020. For Spanish, text hablar to 552020.

National Alliance on Mental Illiness (NAMI), North Suburban Cook County office:  847-716-2252.  May was National Mental Health Awareness Month.

You also can contact the Illinois Mental Health Collaborative. Call:  866-359-7953. 

To get help for substance abuse, call:  833-2findhelp.  Or, go to:  helplineil.org

For those with COVID-19 symptoms who don't require in-patient care, there is daily telehealth monitoring. Northern Illinois:  866-443-2584... Central Illinois and Rockford:  833-673-5669...Southern and west central Illinois (+ Metro East):  217-545-5100.

Daily COVID-19 cases and deaths

Illinois, IDPH, as of September 2, 2022:  a total of 3,696,385 cases and 34,747 deaths. As of 11:59 p.m. on September 1, 1,263 individuals were reported hospitalized with COVID-19. Of those, 154 were in the intensive care unit (ICU), and 46 were on ventilators.

U.S. (since January 21, 2020), as of September 2, 2022:  CDC:  94,487,185 total cases (99,786 new cases). 1,041,816 total deaths (464 new deaths).

Globally as of September 2, 2022:  WHO:  601,189,435 confirmed cases and 6,475,346 confirmed deaths.

See the following sites for additional information about COVID-19 and how to deal with this public health crisis: 

-- World Health Organization (WHO)

 -- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

 -- New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM)

 -- Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH)

 -- Cook County Department of Public Health

 -- Johns Hopkins University of Medicine

The death toll in Illinois due to vaping remains at five, according to IDPH.      

Help try to prevent suicides. Options include:

 -- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline:  1-800-273-8255 (24/7)

 -- What can you do? The National Institute of Mental Health has details.  

 -- Veterans Crisis Hotline:  1-800-273-8255

Find out about the opioid crisis.

Considering a career in health? Take a look at Oakton Community College.

Oakton also has Continuing Education for Health Professionals (CEHP).,