Two years into what history is sure to label the “COVID” years, the virus continues to impact all of our lives. The good news is that the most recent Omicron-variant surge, which has triggered a massive new wave of illness, hospitalizations and healthcare staff shortages, may be waning in regions where it got an early foothold. The other good news is that Omicron taught us some lessons, if we’re open to learning them: take nothing for granted with respect to this virus and be prepared for variants to come.
Here’s how to make sure you’re prepared:
Book your vaccine or booster
Omicron has triggered record hospitalizations, 90% of whom were unvaccinated patients, according to state of Illinois data. The CDC recommends everyone age 5 and over should be vaccinated. A primary series of vaccinations followed by a booster 5 months later is the gold standard in COVID-19 protection. The CDC recently approved Pfizer boosters for kids 12-15 and now recommends a booster for anyone 12+. Schedule your primary vaccine series or booster shot via NCH MyChart or by calling 847-618-0242.
Know your testing options
To accommodate a high community demand for COVID-19 tests in the safest possible setting, NCH has shifted all COVID-19 testing to our newly reopened drive-thru location. Anyone can schedule for any reason, but a physician’s order and appointments are required and easily obtained.
Have an easy access to vax status
On January 3, the City of Chicago and most of suburban Cook County began mandating proof of vaccination at bars, restaurants, gyms and other businesses. Regardless of where you got your vaccination within Illinois, your NCH MyChart mobile app puts proof of vaccination (and many other functions) at your fingertips.
We are often asked what can community members do to help healthcare workers during this trying time. One answer is donate blood.
There’s a national blood shortage due to the pandemic. All healthy donors are urged to donate now; if you’ve had COVID-19 and have been symptom-free for 14 days, you are eligible to donate. Whatever your COVID-19 vaccination status, you are ABSOLUTELY allowed to give blood or platelets.