coronavirus illinois

As COVID Cases Rise in Illinois, Here's What to Do if You Are Exposed or Test Positive

The Illinois Department of Public Health issued a warning Thursday of rising cases in the state, telling residents to follow CDC guidelines and take precautions as needed

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The Illinois Department of Public Health issued a warning Thursday of increasing cases across the state, advising residents to follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines and take precautions as needed.

The health department said residents "should be paying close attention to conditions in their local communities" and urged vaccinations and booster shots for eligible populations.

Chicago's health department also recently issued a reminder to residents on what they should do if they test positive for coronavirus, with cases continuing to rise as the BA.2 omicron subvariant takes hold.

"REMINDER: Regardless of vax status, if you test positive for COVID, you must isolate for 5 days, then you must wear a mask in public for days 6-10," the Chicago Department of Public Health wrote on Facebook Saturday.

The warning and reminders come as the so-called "stealth omicron" subvariant continues to rapidly spread across the Midwest, making up more than 80% of recent COVID cases, according to CDC estimates.

That rapid growth in subvariant cases is part of a trend of increasing cases in the state of Illinois. Since the start of April, Illinois has seen its daily case rate climb by at least 45%.

“While hospitalizations and deaths tied to COVID-19 remain stable at this time, we are seeing a slow increase in cases in many areas of the state,” Acting IDPH Director Amaal Tokars said in a statement. “This is a reminder that we all need to remain vigilant and remain up to date on our vaccination status. This is especially important for those who are at higher risk for serious outcomes.”  

Here is what the CDC recommends following a COVID exposure.

If You Are Exposed to COVID and Are Unvaccinated or Not Up-to-Date on Booster Shots

-Quarantine at home for at least five days. If you have to be around other individuals in your household, wear a mask.

-Even if you don’t develop symptoms, get tested at least five days after the close contact. Per CDC guidelines, the day you are exposed to COVID is considered Day 0, and the first full day after that exposure is Day 1.  

If You Are Vaccinated and Have Received Your Booster Shot

-The CDC does not recommend quarantine unless you develop symptoms.

-Wearing a mask is recommended for 10 days after the exposure, even for those fully-vaccinated against COVID.

-If you develop symptoms, get tested. Otherwise, the CDC does not explicitly recommend testing following an exposure for vaccinated patients.

If You Have Had a Confirmed Case of COVID-19 Within the Last 90 Days and Are Exposed to a COVID-Positive Patient

-No quarantine is recommended.

-Continue to monitor for symptoms for 10 days. If you develop symptoms, get tested and begin isolation until results are returned.

-The CDC recommends that these individuals wear a mask for 10 days after exposure.

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