Illinois Unidos Calls for Recommitment to Vaccination and Safety Mitigations to eradicate  Endless Covid-19 Surges




Alejandra L. Ibanez, Executive Director, Illinois Unidos (773) 732-1114

(Chicago, IL) Illinois Unidos is devastated to see the surge of Covid-19 throughout the country. We call on state and municipal governments and public health departments to continue to encourage vaccinations and to reinstate mask mandates indoors, particularly in congregate settings: schools, daycare facilities, healthcare buildings, public transportation, and in workplaces where social distancing is not possible. 

“This latest surge was completely preventable if health institutions, including the CDC, had not prematurely dropped mask mandates, particularly given low vaccination rates,” stated Dr. Marina Del Rios.  “We need to continue to support high-quality mask use, including N95, KN95, and KF94 masks. We also need to continue to emphasize the importance and safety of vaccination and boosters for ages five and older,” said Dr. Melissa Simon, co-chair of the Illinois Unidos Health & Policy Committee.  “The burden of Covid-19 has fallen on communities of color, and is still falling on our children, our youngest who are either ineligible for vaccinations or still not fully vaccinated,” she added.  

In order to mitigate COVID, it is important to remind the public that the quality of masks makes a difference. It is also important to reiterate that CDC guidance says that five days of isolation is only sufficient if (1) symptoms have improved by day six AND (2) wearing a tight-fitting mask (N95, KF94, KN95, or better) when around others (including family members) for an additional five days. Dr. Del Rios urged: “An even safer approach is to re-test using an at-home COVID antigen testing kit on day six. Up to 46% of individuals can have a persistently positive rapid antigen test in days 6-10 of symptom onset.” We advise continuing isolation to complete the 10-day guidance formerly recommended by the CDC or until you test negative for two sequential tests. 

In order to reduce the risk of severe illness, it is imperative that antiviral therapies be made available to everyone who is eligible free of charge. We call on our public health officials to increase access to test-to-treat centers with bilingual staff and to invest in a public health campaign to inform the Latino community about COVID treatment options. “We also encourage people to contact a test-to-treat center as soon as COVID diagnosis is discovered. There are effective antiviral therapies available for our community that reduce the severity of illness and prevent hospitalization and death. While the vaccines are protective, antivirals can have an additional benefit in people with certain health conditions,” said Dr. Pamela Vergara-Rodriguez, co-chair of IU’s Community Health Worker Committee.

Illinois Unidos calls on communities and the institutions that serve them to commit to a four-step safety mitigation protocol; 

  1. Vaccinate with the entire series. (Everyone ages five and up should receive both doses of Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna or a single dose of J&J and boosters).  
  2. Use high-quality, tight-fitting face masks, such as N95, KN95, or KF94 when in public indoor settings or when congregating indoors with people outside of your household.
  3. If you find out you have COVID, isolate for 10 days post-Covid illness if you are still experiencing symptoms or until your COVID test is negative.
  4. If you have COVID, contact a COVID test-to-treat center or your healthcare provider to ask about COVID treatment options here:

Mi Comunidad es Mi Vida

Mi Familia es Mi Vida

Mi Salud es Mi Vida


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