Doctors Talk Lessons Learned in 3 Years Since First Confirmed COVID-19 Case in Chicago


It has been three years since the first case of Chicago COVID-19 was confirmed. At the time, it was the second confirmed case in the whole country.

Since then, more than four million people in Illinois have been diagnosed with the coronavirus; killed more than 36,000 people in the state.

Dr. Sameer Vohra, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, said that while the state is in a much better position now, COVID-19 still claimed the lives of 200 Illinois residents in December. Most of these were preventable deaths, he said.

The Food and Drug Administration is looking to streamline its vaccine strategy potentially offering an annual COVID-19 vaccine.

“I think it will make it easier to vaccinate more people,” said Dr. Susan Bleasdale, chief quality officer for UI Health. “We want to be able to adapt very quickly and give the vaccine like we give the flu vaccine.”

According to city data, about 40 percent of Chicagoans received a booster or additional dose. This is a drop from the 70% who completed the full primary vaccine series.

Bleasdale said we are not out of the pandemic just yet. As we transition to living with COVID-19, she added, it’s important to balance resources and pay attention to other public health and healthcare issues that may have fallen by the wayside in the past three years. This includes making sure you’re up to date on vaccinations for other illnesses and getting routine evaluations for illnesses like cancer.

“Many people have deferred treatment,” Bleasdale said. “We have to make sure we get those people back into treatment, evaluation, preventative medicine.”


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Written by Natalia Chi

Chicago Popular; Chicago breaking news, weather and live video. Covering local politics, health, traffic and sports for Chicago, the suburbs and northwest Indiana.

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