CHICAGO (WCIA) – Treatments for COVID-19 have been helping many people stay out of the hospital.

According to data released by the Illinois Department of Public Health on Friday, approximately 8,600 Illinoisans avoided the hospital due to COVID-19 treatments since May.   

Dr. Sameer Vohra says the key for the medication to work is to get started on the treatments immediately. 

“The data from Illinois that IDPH released today show just how effective these treatments can be at protecting people who contract COVID-19 from being hospitalized and severe outcomes,” he said. “These treatments are especially recommended for individuals over 50 and those with underlying medical conditions.”

Vohra also emphasized the importance of vaccines and booster shots, including the new bivalent booster, in curbing the pandemic. Several central Illinois counties have already started offering the new booster

“These new bivalent vaccines are designed to offer extra protection against the omicron variants which are now the dominant strain of the virus,” Vohra said. “Getting up to date is especially important for those who are most at risk of serious outcomes.”

Approved treatments for COVID-19 include the antiviral drugs Paxlovid and molnupiravir, as well as monoclonal antibody treatments. To learn more about these treatments, you can visit the Health and Human Services website.