The Effingham County Health Department announced 28 new positive cases of COVID-19 were reported Friday through Sunday.

Those testing positive range in age from infant and children to those in their 20s through 70s.

Illinois Region 6 seven-day test positivity rate was 3.8% through Oct. 15, while Effingham County was at 3.5% for the same period. ICU bed availability in our region is still at 21%, just above the warning indicator that our health care services are being stretched.

The health department would like to remind the community that while the Moderna Booster has been recommended, this is not the same as approved. The recommendation by the FDA panel is just the first step in the approval process. As soon as it is fully approved, the department will let people know how and when they can book appointments. A Booster Dose is different from a Third Dose. It is likely that if/when approved the Moderna Booster will be half the dosage of the first two shots, while the third dose, which is only for the immunocompromised, is the full dosage. Currently, you must get the same type or brand of vaccine you started with.

To be eligible for the third dose of Pfizer or Moderna, you need to be moderately or severely immunocompromised. This includes people who have:

• Been receiving active cancer treatment for tumors or cancers of the blood

• Received an organ transplant and are taking medicine to suppress the immune system

• Received a stem cell transplant within the last two years or are taking medicine to suppress the immune system

• Moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (such as DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome)

• Advanced or untreated HIV infection

• Active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids or other drugs that may suppress your immune response

People should talk to their health care provider about their medical condition, and whether getting an additional dose is appropriate for them.

COVID vaccine appointments can be booked at www.effcohealth.org.

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