U.S. regulators have authorized an extra dose of the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines for people with compromised immune systems, but there's still another step that needs to be taken.
Meanwhile, rising COVID-19 cases are putting a strain on testing centers in Illinois as more patients seek appointments.
Here's what you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic across Illinois today:
22 Winners Picked From Across State in $100K Illinois Vaccine Lottery Drawing
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Twenty-two winners were chosen during the sixth $100,000 drawing of Illinois' COVID vaccine lottery.
The winners were picked from across the state, with several in the Chicago area selected, including in Joliet, Plainfield, Hanover Park, Aurora, Mundelein, Arlington Heights and Chicago locations.
The Illinois Department of Public Health said it notified winners by phone or email Thursday.
Coronavirus in Illinois: 21,334 New COVID Cases, 92 Deaths, 215K Vaccinations in the Past Week
Illinois health officials on Friday reported 21,334 new COVID-19 cases in the past week, along with 92 additional deaths and more than 215,000 new vaccine doses administered.
In all, 1,457,687 cases of coronavirus have been reported in the state since the pandemic began. The additional deaths reported this week bring the state to 23,594 confirmed COVID fatalities.
Chicago Public Schools to Require COVID Vaccinations for All Employees
Chicago Public Schools will require COVID vaccinations for all employees, the district announced Friday.
The requirement, which comes just days before the district's Aug. 30 start date, includes school-based teachers and staff, central office, regular vendors and network employees, and all other Board employees, unless they qualify for a medical or religious exemption.
Under the new policy, all staff will be required to submit proof of full vaccination by Oct. 15, unless they have an approved religious or medical exemption. Those who have not already reported to the district that they are fully vaccinated must be tested once a week at a minimum until Oct. 15 or until proof of vaccination is submitted. Staff with a documented exemption will need to be tested for the remainder of the year.
Who is Eligible for Booster Dose After FDA OKs for Those With Immunodeficiency?
As U.S. regulators authorize an extra dose of the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines for people with compromised immune systems, who is included and when can they get their booster dose?
The late-night announcement by the Food and Drug Administration applies to several million Americans who are especially vulnerable because of organ transplants, certain cancers or other disorders. Several other countries, including France and Israel, have similar recommendations.
The announcement comes as the extra-contagious delta version of the coronavirus surges through much of the country, pushing new cases, hospitalizations and deaths to heights not seen since last winter.
Demand For COVID-19 Tests Skyrockets in August, Data Shows
Pierce Howard and Hannah Loessberg said they’ve waited hours to get a COVID-19 test in the recent summer heat.
“We, one time, had to wait two hours in this super long line down the street,” said Howard.
Innovative Express Care-Diversey in Chicago's Lincoln Park neighborhood is halting walk-in appointments because of the high demand. In June, the facility was seeing around 70 patients per day. Fast forward to August, a spokeswoman said that number has skyrocketed to an average of 850 patients per day.
The uptick in testing demand has forced Physician’s Immediate Care to hire more staff, adjust staff schedules and extend hours.
Read more here.
New Mom in Chicago Pushes For Pregnant Women to Receive COVID Vaccine
As the city of Chicago was in the middle of a second surge of the pandemic, mother Kate Lemere found herself in an unprecedented position.
“I found out I was pregnant in November,” Lemere said. “I got my first shot in my second trimester and second shot in my third. And of course, I thought to myself, if something happens how will I cope? But that same thought worked for the other side of the coin, what if I contract COVID-19 when I’m pregnant?”
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is urging pregnant women to get vaccinated, as hospitals across the country see disturbing numbers of unvaccinated mothers-to-be becoming seriously ill with the virus.
Suburban School to Comply With Mask Mandate After State Revokes Status
A private school in Elmhurst that considered beginning the school year with optional masking said it will comply with the state’s mandate on face coverings in the classroom, after the Illinois State Board of Education sent a letter to the school removing its recognition status.
Read more here.
Could a Vaccine Passport or Mandate be in Store for Chicago? Top Doc Weighs In
With cities in parts of the U.S. considering a COVID vaccine requirement for certain activities, could Chicago follow suit?
The city's top doctor says there are no current plans for implementing such a vaccine mandate, but it's not off the table.
New York City now requires proof of vaccination for indoor activities like dining, fitness and entertainment, and according to Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Allison Arwady, more cities could follow suit.
203 Lollapalooza Attendees Later Tested Positive for COVID, Chicago's Top Doctor Says
A total of 203 people who attended Lollapalooza have since confirmed to health officials that they later tested positive for COVID-19, Chicago's top doctor said Thursday.
After an estimated 385,000 people attended the festival, a total of 58 Chicago residents, 138 non-Chicago Illinois residents and seven out-of-state residents have since tested positive, Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said at a news conference in which she said there was "no evidence" that Lollapalooza was a superspreader event.