Chicago updated its travel advisory Tuesday, adding three more states back to the list advising anyone entering the city from those areas to test negative for COVID-19 or quarantine upon arrival.
Meanwhile, three more winners were chosen during the latest $100,000 drawing of Illinois' COVID vaccine lottery.
And what is a breakthrough COVID case, how common are they and how are they being tracked? Here's what you should know.
Here's what you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic across Illinois today:
‘Sounding the Alarm': Chicago Mayor Warns of Rise in COVID Cases Due to Delta Variant
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she was "sounding the alarm" Tuesday due to a recent uptick in coronavirus cases across the city.
Citing a rise in both average daily cases and test positivity in Chicago largely attributed to the delta variant, Lightfoot said that while numbers are still well below the spikes seen during the peak of the pandemic, "it's still a concerning development that we want to not only stay ahead of, but to quash completely."
"If we allow the virus to continue to linger here in Chicago we will likely see further mutations, some of which our current vaccines may not be able to protect against and have to reinforce some of the restrictions that have come to infamously define much of 2020, and part of 2021," Lightfoot said during a coronavirus update alongside city health officials. "The reality is this scenario - the worst case - is entirely preventable, and that's because we have three different vaccines readily available to all of our residents, which offer very good protection against delta, and other new variants."
Gov. Pritzker on Rising COVID Cases: ‘If We Need to Take Stricter Mitigations We Will'
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker warned Tuesday that stricter mitigations could return for areas seeing a rise in COVID cases.
"I believe strongly that we will impose mitigations as it's appropriate, where it's appropriate," Pritzker said in a one-on-one interview with NBC Chicago's Mary Ann Ahern Tuesday.
Calling on anyone who is unvaccinated to get vaccinated, Pritzker said the state continues to monitor COVID metrics like positivity rate, case numbers and hospitalizations.
"It is always a difficult thing for me," he said. "I wake up every morning and I look at those numbers and when they're rising, you know, that's a bad day, and I want to do whatever I can to mitigate that. So that's included making sure testing is widely available, making sure that the vaccines are widely available, and I'll continue to do that and if we need to take stricter mitigations we will."
Chicago Officials Predict Delta Variant Will Become City's Dominant COVID Strain by August
Chicago public health officials say that COVID-19 cases caused by the delta variant are rapidly increasing in the city, and that by next month the strain will likely be the dominant form of the virus in the city.
During a press availability on Tuesday, Dr. Allison Arwady, the commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, said that the delta variant is causing approximately 44% of the COVID cases in the city, and that officials expect that the variant will surpass the 50% mark next month.
“One thing that we are seeing with the major surges (is that) it is being driven by the delta variant,” she said.
Chicago Travel Advisory: City Adds 3 More States Back to List as COVID Cases Rise
Chicago updated its travel advisory Tuesday, adding three more states - for a total of five states and one territory - back to the list advising anyone entering the city from those areas to test negative for COVID-19 or quarantine upon arrival.
Florida, Louisiana and Nevada, as well as the U.S. Virgin Islands were added to the advisory as all 50 states see a rise in coronavirus cases, the Chicago Department of Public Health said in a statement.
Last week, Missouri and Arkansas were both added to the travel advisory after several weeks with no states on the list. Both states remain on the advisory, which CDPH said would now be updated weekly moving forward.
Recent increases in COVID metrics pushed those newly added states over the threshold of 15 cases per day per 100,000 people to get onto the "orange" list. Any below that mark are on the "yellow" list, with public health officials still warning against non-essential travel.
CDPH shared the rates in each state on the list, as well as Illinois and Chicago, as of Tuesday and from the previous week:
|State||Rate per 100K Residents – 7/20/21||Rate per 100K Residents – 7/13/21|
|City of Chicago||3.3||2.7|
"Unvaccinated individuals traveling from the states or territories on the Orange list are advised – not required – to obtain a negative COVID-19 test result no more than 72 hours prior to arrival in Chicago or quarantine for a 10-day period upon arrival," CDPH said. "Vaccinated individuals are exempt from the Advisory, which will be updated weekly going forward."
Mayor Lightfoot, Chicago's Top Doctor to Give Update on COVID-19
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and the city's top doctor will give an update on COVID-19 Tuesday.
Lightfoot and Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady will hold a news conference at 1 p.m. from City Hall, according to the mayor's public schedule. The event can be watched live in the video player above.
Details on what the update may entail were not immediately available.
Cook County Mass Vaccination Sites to Close
The three remaining mass COVID vaccination sites in suburban Cook County will close this week as public health officials move to a more hyperlocal model to get shots in arms.
County officials say the sites have seen a sharp decline in attendance and therefore, the vaccination effort will move toward a model of meeting people where they congregate.
There have been more than 600,000 shots given at the Cook County mass vaccination sites. Providing more than 4,000 doses per day at their peak, the number has now fallen to fewer than 100.
The locations in Forest Park and Des Plaines close Tuesday, while the site in south suburban Matteson is scheduled to close Wednesday.
With concerns about the more transmissible delta variant on the rise, vaccinations are not being halted, just shifted to a more hyperlocal strategy with clinics to be held at places like forest preserves, neighborhood festivals and back-to-school gatherings.
Upcoming events can be found on Cook County's vaccine website here.
$100K Illinois Vaccine Lottery Winners Chosen, From Berwyn, Chicago, Joliet
Three winners were chosen Monday during the second $100,000 drawing of Illinois' COVID vaccine lottery.
The winners, located in Berwyn, Chicago and Joliet, will be notified by the Illinois Department of Public Health by phone or email starting Monday afternoon. Each will be awarded a $100,000 cash prize.
"Illinoisans from those cities and counties should keep their phones on and check their emails regularly to find out if they’ve won," IDPH said in a statement.
Health officials will call from 312-814-3524 and/or email from DPH.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Breakthrough COVID Cases in Illinois: What We Know
At least 151 people have died and more than 500 have been hospitalized in Illinois due to COVID-19 in "breakthrough" cases after they were fully vaccinated, according to state health officials.
What is a breakthrough COVID case, how common are they and how are they being tracked? Here's what you should know.
Vaccinated Chicagoan Wishes He Knew More About Breakthrough Cases Before He Became One
Robert Flinn knew there was a chance he could contract COVID despite being fully vaccinated, but now that he's become a breakthrough COVID case, he said he wishes he knew more.
"I do think there was a disconnect between what I was hearing from public health authorities and the reality of the situation," he said. "When I heard a statistic or health experts say things like, 'Virtually every new infection is someone who is unvaccinated,' I took that to mean that I could pretty much go back to living my life according to normal. Had I known that there were this many breakthrough cases of people contracting the virus, but maybe not ending up in the hospital, I would have continued to take more precautions."
Flinn is one of multiple breakthrough cases in the Chicago area, but public health experts don't provide data on cases like his because he didn't end up hospitalized or worse.
According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, the state does not publicize the number of residents who tested positive after being fully vaccinated but did not die or require hospitalization in order to "help maximize the quality of the data collected on cases of greatest clinical and public health importance."
But Flinn, who received a dose of the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine at the end of March, believes data on such cases could have helped prevent him from contracting coronavirus.
"Had I known the prevalence of breakthrough cases, I would have continued to be more careful about wearing my mask," he said, adding that he followed public health guidance while being fully vaccinated.
"I've had a breakthrough case and I'm hearing about more breakthrough cases," he said. "I'm definitely telling people that I know, 'If you're indoors at all, even if you're vaccinated, you should continue wearing a mask for sure.'"
COVID Vaccine Pop-Ups: Here's Where to Get an Appointment in Chicago
Several new COVID-19 vaccination spots are popping up across Chicago as cases and hospitalizations are on the rise again.
All COVID vaccines are free of cost with no insurance or ID required, CDPH reminded. Residents over the age of 12 are eligible for the vaccine, according to federal guidance.
Here's where to get a vaccine in Chicago this week:
Tuesday, July 20
- CPS: Chicago Vocational Career Academy: 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
- Vaccination Station (Vax Bus) – Austin: 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
- After School Matters at Gately Park: 12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.
- Metra Station – 115th St. and Kensington: 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Wednesday, July 21
- CPS: Theodore Roosevelt High School: 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
- Food Pantry – St. Kevin Catholic Church: 9:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
- Vaccination Station (Vax Bus) – Atlas Senior Center: 10:00 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
- After School Matters at Millennium Park: 12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.
- CPS: Morrill Elementary School (Annex Building): 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Thursday, July 22
- CPS: Michele Clark High School: 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
- After School Matters at Lutz Family Center: 12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.
- Vaccination Station (Vax Bus)– Salvation Army: 1:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
- Metra Station – 93rd Street: 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
- Back Of The Yard Neighborhood Council: 4:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
- Movies in the Park – Wentworth Park: 5:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
- SWOP Chicago: 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Friday, July 23
- North Austin Public Library: 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
- CTA Stop – Brown Line/Kimball: 3:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
- CTA Stop – 35th/Archer Orange Line: 3:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
For those who cannot leave their homes, CDPH can provide in-home vaccinations. Appointments can be made by calling (312) 746-4835 or visit this website.
Coronavirus in Illinois: 4,449 New COVID Cases, 62 Deaths, 148K Vaccinations in the Past Week
Illinois health officials on Friday reported 4,449 new COVID-19 cases in the past week, along with 62 additional deaths and more than 148,000 new vaccine doses administered.
In all, 1,399,946 cases of coronavirus have been reported in the state since the pandemic began. The additional deaths reported this week bring the state to 23,357 confirmed COVID fatalities.
The state has administered 228,430 tests since last Friday, officials said, bringing the total to more than 26 million tests conducted during the pandemic.
The state’s seven-day positivity rate on all tests rose to 1.9% from 1.5% the week before, and the seven-day positivity rate on individuals tested rose from 1.7% to 2.3%, officials said.
Over the past seven days, a total of 148,520 doses of the coronavirus vaccine have been administered to Illinois residents. That brings the state’s average to 21,217 daily vaccination doses over the last week, both metrics an increase from the week before according to IDPH data.
State officials say more than 12.9 million vaccine doses have been administered in Illinois since vaccinations began in December. More than 57% of adult residents in the state are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, with 73% receiving at least one dose.
As of midnight, 476 patients are currently hospitalized due to COVID in the state. Of those patients, 94 are in intensive care units, and 28 are on ventilators.
‘No Plan' for More COVID Mitigations in Illinois as Cases Rise, IDPH Says
There's "no plan" in place currently to bring back any statewide mitigations to slow the spread of COVID-19 in Illinois as cases continue to rise and experts warn about the more transmissible delta variant, state health officials said Friday.
"Restore Illinois mitigations that were enacted during the height of the pandemic allowed for safe and proven infection prevention measures since no vaccine was available," an Illinois Department of Public Health spokesman said in a statement.
"Currently there is no plan to implement any additional statewide mitigations now that there is an abundance of vaccine available and accessible across Illinois, but local municipalities continue to have the ability to put more stringent mitigations in place in their communities," the statement continued. "We encourage all Illinoisans ages 12+ to get vaccinated as soon as possible. The COVID-19 vaccines are a proven and effective measure of protection against a deadly virus that has taken the lives of thousands of Illinoisans."
IDPH's statement came as some municipalities and governments have chosen to bring back things like indoor mask mandates.
Public health officials in Los Angeles County, the most populous county in the nation, announced this week that they will reinstate the county's indoor mask mandate for everyone regardless of vaccination status beginning late Saturday.
That change was sparked by the spread of the delta variant, officials said, weeks after federal health officials released updated guidance that dropped masking requirements for those who are fully vaccinated.
“We’re not where we need to be for the millions at risk of infection here in Los Angeles County, and waiting to do something will be too late given what we’re seeing now,” LA County's health officer said Thursday during a news briefing. "This is an all-hands-on-deck moment."
This Age Group is Contracting COVID Most in Chicago Right Now, According to City's Top Doc
Chicago's coronavirus cases are up slightly over the last couple weeks, and the city's top doctor said one age group is seeing a majority of the latest increase.
The city is now averaging 57 coronavirus cases per day. That number is up from the average daily case rate of 41 seen one week earlier, but significantly lower than the more than 200 cases per day the city was seeing just over a year ago.
"It's showing that with some new variants here, with some additional spread, you know, the risk is ever so slightly higher than it was a week ago," Arwady said. "But the difference is that for people who are fully vaccinated, that risk is very, very low. Whereas for people who are not vaccinated, especially as these case numbers go up, you know, that risk can increase from sort of a low to a moderate to a higher risk. So we're keeping an eye on it. I do expect it will probably continue to increase, hopefully slowly, hopefully staying in control, but it's why we're working on vaccinations so hard."
Arwady noted that two thirds of the city's cases in the last month have been in people under the age of 40 and one-third of hospitalizations during that time were in people in that same age group.
"And these are people who are unvaccinated," she said. In the last week, increases were seen particularly in people in their 30s, Arwady said.
"The case rates that have been increasing just over the last week or two are in people first in their 30s, then in their 20s and then in the kids zero to 17," she said.
According to the city's latest data, 30- to 39-year-olds saw the highest average daily case rate in the last week compared to other age groups.
‘A Perilous Time': Cook County Officials Warn of Delta Variant Surge, Urge Vaccinations
Cook County officials warned Thursday that cases of the delta coronavirus variant are surging, asking residents who have not yet been vaccinated to get their shots in an effort to prevent spread.
"The variant continues to surge and while research suggests that vaccinated individuals are generally protected, we know that there are still large segments of our population that are unvaccinated and high risk this infectious variant," Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said during a coronavirus update alongside health officials.
It's a trend being reported across the state in recent weeks, particularly in parts of the state that have lower vaccination rates.
"There is a very clear connection between where those case rates are growing the fastest and how well that area is vaccinated," Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike. "I.e. the more highly vaccinated areas are having lower case rates."
Preckwinkle noted that just under 60% of Cook County residents have received at least one dose of the vaccine.
"However 70-80% is needed to reach herd immunity," she added. "So we're a ways from that."
Health officials have said the delta variant has a higher transmissibility that impacts more people at a time than previous variants. Within weeks, Ezike said Illinois has seen COVID cases double statewide.
Chicago Travel Advisory: City Adds 2 States Back to List as COVID Cases Rise
Chicago updated its travel advisory last week, adding two states back to the list advising anyone entering the city to test negative for COVID-19 or quarantine upon arrival, as the U.S. continues to see a rise in coronavirus cases.
Missouri and Arkansas were both added to the travel advisory after several weeks with no states on the list, the Chicago Department of Public Health said in a statement.
Recent increases in COVID metrics in the states pushed both over the threshold of 15 cases per day per 100,000 people to get onto the list.
"We are doing very well right now here in Chicago but across the whole U.S., you know, cases actually are up a little bit, right, they're up 5 to 10% across the whole country," Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said during a Facebook Live broadcast last Tuesday.
Arwady's comments came exactly one week after Chicago turned its emergency coronavirus travel order into an advisory after no states were on the list requiring travel restrictions for the third consecutive update.
CDPH announced on June 29 that in more than a month, no state had reached the 15 cases per day per 100,000 residents threshold, which would be the "orange" tier in which unvaccinated travelers are required to quarantine or provide a negative COVID test upon arrival in the city.
The last time a state had reached the orange tier was May 18, the department said, and all U.S. states and territories remained in the less restrictive "yellow" tier of the travel order.
The travel order shifted to an advisory as a result, but it will continue to be reevaluated every other Tuesday and the city said the emergency guidelines can be reinstated at any time "if significant surges are seen in any state."
Delta Variant: What We Know About the Efficacy of COVID Vaccines
As concern grows about the rapid spread of the delta COVID-19 variant, experts are continuing to urge Americans to get their coronavirus vaccines as a way of staving off a surge in new cases.
According to researchers, the delta variant is quickly becoming the dominant strain of coronavirus in the United States. Outbreaks have been reported in several states, mostly in areas with low vaccination rates.
Studies have shown that the delta variant spreads approximately 225% faster than the original strain of the virus. Studies have also shown that once a person catches the delta variant, they likely become infectious sooner, and that the virus grows more rapidly inside a person’s respiratory tract.
As the delta variant continues to spread, experts are continuing to push for more Americans to get the COVID vaccine. All three of the vaccines currently authorized for emergency use by the FDA, including Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson, have shown to be largely effective against preventing serious illness and death due to COVID, and all three companies say that their vaccines are showing promise in preventing those outcomes with the delta variant as well.
Just how effective are the three different vaccines against the delta variant? What steps are being taken to ensure the safety and health of those who get the treatments? Here are the latest details.
Delta Variant: What to Know About the New Version of Coronavirus Sparking Concern
Concerns surrounding the delta coronavirus variant are rising in both Chicago and Illinois, but what is it about the new variant that has some worried?
Here's an exhaustive list of what we know so far about the variant itself and what is being seen in Chicago and Illinois.
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