Wednesday marks one year since the first coronavirus vaccinations were administered in Illinois and Chicago, but a lot has changed since.
With COVID cases rising once again in both Chicago and Illinois, many are wondering what they need to do ahead of the holidays and if they are exposed.
Here's what you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic across Illinois today:
Suburban Cook County Announces First Confirmed Case of Omicron Variant
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The first confirmed omicron variant case in suburban Cook County has been reported, health officials announced Wednesday.
The Cook County Department of Public Health announced the variant was identified in a case Tuesday, but did not specify which suburb the variant was found in. Officials are set to hold a press conference to address the case at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday.
The case, the first known case of omicron in suburban Cook County, was reported in an asymptomatic person who had received at least two doses of the coronavirus vaccine, officials said.
Additional cases could soon be identified as "there are other cases that are currently being genotyped for omicron," the department stated.
Read more here.
Chicago, Illinois Mark One Year Since First COVID Vaccine Doses Administered
Wednesday marked one year since the first Chicagoans and Illinoisans received their first doses of the coronavirus vaccine.
It was a scene many remember vividly.
In Chicago, five health care workers sat in a room at Loretto Hospital, receiving the highly-anticipated vaccine in the midst of a pandemic surge just before the Christmas holiday. In Peoria, health care workers received their first doses of the Pfizer vaccine as frontline workers took center stage in the vaccine rollout.
Images of trucks loaded with freezer packs of the COVID-19 vaccine flooded television screens as doses were distributed to hospitals across the country.
Here's a look at what's changed since vaccinations began last year.
NOTE: NBC Chicago will host a live feed of the Chicago health department's press conference beginning at 11:30 a.m. Watch live here or in the player above.
After About a Month Since First Detected, Here's What We Know About Omicron Variant
After about a month since the omicron COVID-19 variant was detected in South Africa and two weeks since first recorded in the U.S., scientists and health officials have been working to combat the mutated virus with new information.
So, what do we know about the new variant and its impact on Illinois?
Here's a breakdown of what we know so far.
CDC Guidelines for COVID Exposure: Timeline, Quarantine, Contagious Period
What should you do if you or someone you have been in close contact with tests positive for coronavirus? How long are you contagious, what are the quarantine guidelines and when can you see people again?
Here's a look at the guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on what to do if you test positive or believe you were exposed to someone who has.
Vaccine Proof at Restaurants? A Look at What Officials Are Considering as COVID Metrics Rise
As COVID metrics continue to rise in Chicago and in Illinois, what are officials considering to help slow spread?
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said while the state is continuously evaluating its options it already has "some of the most stringent mitigations."
"That is wearing masks indoors," he said during an unrelated event Tuesday. "That is what the mitigation regime needs to be get vaccinated wear a mask indoors, you know, please socially distance, especially if you don't know the people that you're with. I know that people are gathering during this holiday season, just be extra careful."
Pritzker did, however, encourage local authorities to implement more stringent mitigations as they see fit.
Read more here.
Accuracy of At-Home COVID Tests and More: What to Know for Holiday Gatherings
As many prepare for holiday gatherings, demand for testing has increased, but for those using at-home testing methods, how accurate are they and should you rely on them?
There are a number of at-home options now available and Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady recently advised using them ahead of holiday gatherings.
Chicago Travel Advisory Climbs to 42 States as 'Country is Surging Again': CDPH
Two more states were added back onto Chicago's travel advisory Tuesday, bringing the number of states on the city's warning list to 42 states, plus the District of Columbia, in the lead-up to the Christmas holiday.
California and Mississippi were all added back onto the advisory this week, the city's health department announced, but no states were removed.
Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said the increase in states comes as "the country is surging again."
As of Tuesday, every state or territory except for Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Guam, Hawaii, Louisiana, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Texas, and the Virgin Islands are on the travel advisory.
Read more here.
Last Chance to Receive First Vaccine Dose at Kane County Mass Vaccination Site is This Week
The Kane Vax Hub in suburban Batavia will close in early January 2022, the county health department announced Friday.
The last chance to receive a shot at the mass vaccination clinic will be on Wednesday, Dec. 15 from 1 to 5 p.m., health officials said.
A Pfizer second dose-only clinic is scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 29 and Wednesday, Jan. 5, both of which are solely for people who have received their first vaccine shot.
In January, the Kane County Health Department will offer vaccinations by appointment at the Aurora office, located at 1240 N. Highland Ave. Check KaneVax.org for availability.