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Wear Masks Indoors, Get Vaccinated And Tested As COVID BA.5 Spreads, County Health Officials Say

BA.4 and BA.5 are spreading in Cook County, but residents can take steps to protect themselves, according to the health department.

Angel Salgado, 5, receives his second COVID-19 vaccine from David Palma at Esperanza Health Centers Brighton Park on April 4, 2022.
Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago

CHICAGO — County health officials are encouraging residents to wear masks and take other precautions as COVID-19’s highly contagious BA.4 and BA.5 variants spread.

BA.4 and BA.5 are more contagious than past variants of COVID-19, which could lead to more people becoming infected and needing to be hospitalized, according to a Cook County Department of Public Health news release. But there are steps people can take to protect themselves, according to the agency.

People can get vaccinated and boosted against COVID-19, as the vaccines greatly lower the chance someone will get seriously ill or die from the virus, according to the health department.

Health department officials also urged people to wear masks when indoors in public, to socialize outdoors if possible and avoid poorly ventilated indoor settings and to get tested if they’re at risk of spreading COVID-19.

People who get COVID-19 and are high risk from the virus can also seek treatment, which is most effective when started early, according to the health department.

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