CHICAGO (WLS) -- Illinois reported 2,186 new COVID cases and 14 new deaths Wednesday.
The Illinois Dept. of Public Health says "daily deaths reported on weekends and at the beginning of the week may be low" and "those deaths will be captured in subsequent days."
COVID-19 transmission has risen to a medium risk level across the Chicago area, as temperatures drop and cases rise once again, health officials said Friday.
Cook County and the collars had been in the "low" transmission category for more than a month as determined by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but steady upticks in cases and hospitalizations now mean the elderly and immunocompromised are advised to mask up around others indoors.
There have been at least 3,845,953 total COVID cases in the state since the start of the pandemic and at least 35,369 related deaths.
As of Tuesday night, 1,083 patients in Illinois were reported to be in the hospital with COVID-19. Of those, 125 patients were in the ICU, and 49 patients with COVID-19 were on ventilators.
The daily case rate per 100,000 population is at 14.8.
Chicago's top doctor pleads with residents to get flu shot, COVID booster
According to the Chicago Department of Public Health, only 14.6% of eligible Chicagoans have received the omicron-specific vaccine.
"We expect the winter of 2022-2023 to see another surge in COVID and probably another surge in COVID deaths," Arwady said.
Dr. Arwady said if you 5 years old and older and have not had a COVID shot since Labor Day, you are due for one now. If not, Arwady fears another variant may emerge.
"We are especially concerned for Latinx and Black Chicagoans who have born the brunt of COVID pandemic and are the least protected," Arwady said.
Only 14% of Latino residents and 17% of Black Chicagoans have received the new booster, compared to 57% of white residents.
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"African American Community, c'mon, we are better than 17%," said Pastor Chris Harris at Bright Star Church.
As he rolled up his sleeve, Pastor Chris Harris called on faith leaders to use the pulpit this Sunday to urge their members to get vaccinated.
In the meantime, Dr. Arwady is calling on parents to get their kids the both vaccines, especially the flu shot.
"Parents are less likely to be getting their children vaccinated against flu this year," Arwady said. "That is a really bad combination. Different from COVID, flu hits kids hard."
Dr. Arwady said that between the flu, COVID, RSV and other illnesses, there are less than 10 pediatric ICU beds available in Chicago and the respiratory virus season hasn't officially kicked in yet.
CDPH also announced it's extending the flu and COVID booster clinics through December and urge people to take advantage of the free vaccines while they remain.
Nationwide, the flu season has started earlier this year. According to the Centers for Disease Control, flu hospitalizations, at this point, are the highest in over a decade.
The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.