COOK COUNTY, Ill. — Local health officials are warning residents to still use precautions against COVID-19 as omicron continues to rage in the area.

In a virtual meeting Thursday, Cook County Health officials said there some are people letting their guards down by thinking they are going to get COVID-19 eventually.

“This surge is really out of control,” Dr. Mark Loafman said. “I think we are hearing a sense of inevitability that COVID omicron is here we all going to get it. We are asking people to rethink that.”

In Illinois as of Thursday, there are more than 7,200 people hospitalized with COVID-19 in Illinois. More than 80% of those hospitalized.

“We are hearing about these “COVID parties’ or people intentionally ‘I hope I get it to be done with it,’ Dr. Loafman said. “And that used to happen with chickenpox.”

Dr. Loafman said the increase in hospitalizations are putting a strain on medical professionals. On Wednesday, Gov. Pritzker announced that his administration is deploying more than 2,000 health care workers to some of the hardest hit hospitals in Illinois.

National Nurses United, the largest union for nurses, said there is not a nursing shortage — just a shortage of nurses willing to work in unsafe conditions.

Dr. Loafman disagreed with Dr. Anthony Fauci, who recently said it’s inevitable everyone will get the omicron variant of COVID-19.

“I don’t think it’s inevitable we are all going to get it. I think more people that do get it and spread it the more of us will get it,” Dr. Loafman said. “So we are seeing that play out very much right now.”

Dr. Loafman reminds residents to continue to wash their hands, look for booster shots and social distance.

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