Though the number of new COVID-19 cases is increasing in Lake County substantially, they are considerably less than they were a year ago and the county continues to be the most vaccinated in the state against the coronavirus pandemic.

As county hospitals approach the one-year anniversary of administering the first shots against the disease, local health care professionals are unanimous in their advice to curb the spread of the pandemic — get vaccinated, get boosted and take available precautions.

Mark Pfister, the executive director of the Lake County health department, said vaccination is not only the best way to avoid the disease, it also minimizes the chances of hospitalization and death if there is an infection.

“If you got your first dose, get the second,” Pfister said. “If you’ve had your second dose and it’s time, get your booster. Test before (going) to events, wear a mask and social distance.”

Pfister is not alone with his opinion. Both Dr. Michael Bauer, the medical director at Northwestern Medicine Lake Forest Hospital, and Dr. Ghanshyam Shah, the medical director at Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital in Barrington, agree.

“The best way to prevent COVID-19 is to get vaccinated, and if it’s been long enough since your first shot(s), get boosted,” Shah said in an email. “The vaccines are the most effective tool we have to prevent serious illness, hospitalization and deaths.”