coronavirus illinois

Illinois Coronavirus Updates: CPS Mask Mandate Lifted, Obama Has COVID, ‘Deltacron'

Here's what you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic across Illinois today

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Chicago Public Schools classrooms are now mask-optional as the district lifts its mask mandate for both students and staff, but could the move set up another battle between CPS and the teachers union?

And as masks come, the World Health Organization has confirmed the emergence of a new COVID-19 variant dubbed "deltacron" - a hybrid strain that combines both the delta and omicron variants.

Here's what you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic across Illinois today:

COVID, Cold, Allergies: How Can You Tell the Difference in Symptoms?

If you're wondering whether that runny nose, sore throat or sneeze is simply allergies, just a cold, or possibly signs of COVID-19, you're not alone.

With many experiencing cold-like symptoms, and with the start of spring allergies, it can be hard to decipher what could be behind the onset of symptoms.

Experts say the only real way to know the answer is to test, but until then, health officials say to treat any possible symptoms as COVID.

Read more here for a breakdown of symptoms.

Next Round of Free COVID Test Kits Begins Arriving in Mail. Here's How to Order Yours

Free COVID test kits have started arriving at many U.S. homes once again after a second round of tests from the government were released earlier this month.

In his State of the Union remarks, President Joe Biden said that in addition to starting a new antiviral initiative, his administration would allow people in the U.S. to order another round of free tests from the government. Many who placed their orders when the tests became available at the start of March have reported receiving their second shipment.

Here's what we know so far.

What Is Deltacron? What to Know as Cases of COVID Strain Confirmed by WHO

Cases of a COVID-19 variant known as "deltacron" have emerged in several countries so far this year, but what is it and what do we know so far?

The hybrid strain has been making headlines since January, when researchers said they first detected it, but many experts were quick to question it.

Here's a breakdown.

CPS Lifts Mask Mandate in Schools Monday, Switching to Mask-Optional Policy

Chicago Public Schools lifted its mask mandate Monday, beginning a new mask-optional policy for both students and staff in schools across the city.

Starting this week, CPS said parents, students and employees will have a choice on whether or not they wear a mask on school property and other school locations, though the district said it will continue to encourage their use.

Read more here.

Former President Barack Obama Tests Positive for COVID-19, Dealing With Mild Symptoms

Former President Barack Obama announced on social media Sunday that he has tested positive for coronavirus, but says that he is only dealing with mild symptoms from the virus.

Obama made the announcement on Sunday afternoon, saying that he’s been dealing with a scratchy throat, but is not dealing with any other symptoms at this time.

Read more here.

‘Deltacron:' Cases of New COVID Variant Confirmed by World Health Organization

The World Health Organization this week confirmed the emergence of a new COVID-19 variant dubbed "deltacron" - a hybrid strain that combines both the delta and omicron variants.

At a press conference Wednesday, Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO's technical lead for COVID-19, said cases have been reported in Denmark, France and the Netherlands, but noted the levels of detection are "very low."

Cases have been identified in at least 17 patients, according to Reuters.

Read more here.

Masks Now Recommended in Only 1 Illinois County, According to CDC Update

Masks are no longer advised in any of Illinois' 102 counties except for one, according to updated mask guidance provided Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Read more here.

How Likely Are You to Develop ‘Long COVID' After a Virus Infection?

After being diagnosed with a coronavirus infection, some people have complained of symptoms lasting beyond the duration of the virus -- a condition now commonly known as "long COVID."

"Long COVID" is more broadly referred to as "post-COVID conditions," or PCC, by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, according to Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady.

How likely are you to develop long COVID after an infection?

Here's what Chicago's top doctor said.

Deadline Arrives for Unvaccinated Chicago Police Officers, City Employees

The deadline for Chicago Police Department employees and other city workers to get vaccinated as part of a requirement for city workers has arrived.

In accordance with the policy, employees are required to report their first COVID shot by Sunday. At least 2,800 CPD employees had not yet received their dose of the COVID vaccine as of Friday, Fraternal Order of Police President John Catanzara told NBC 5.

Read more here.

Coronavirus in Illinois: 8K New Cases, 149 Deaths in Last Week as Drop Continues

Illinois health officials reported 8,519 new COVID-19 cases over the past week, along with 149 additional deaths and over 66,000 new vaccine doses administered, marking a continued drop in cases and deaths.

The previous week, the state reported 10,462 new cases and 272 deaths. The week before that, 13,028 new cases and 355 deaths were reported.

Read more here.

United Airlines to Bring Back Workers Idled Over Vaccination

United Airlines will bring back employees who were placed on unpaid leave last year because they refused to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

The airline told employees in a memo Thursday that workers who avoided vaccination by claiming a medical or religious exemption will be allowed back starting March 28.

Read more here.

These Are The COVID-19 Guidelines for The Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle

The Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle's COVID-19 guidelines have been updated in recent weeks as the unofficial kickoff to outdoor running season begins.

As Illinois and Chicago lifted their indoor face mask and vaccination requirements Feb. 28, the Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle updated its health and safety policies to reflect the change. 

Read more here.

Illinois Secretary of State Extends Driver's License, ID Card Expiration Date Again

Is your Illinois driver's license expired or expiring? You'll now have more time to renew it.

Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White on Friday announced that expiration dates for driver’s licenses, ID cards and learner’s permits are being extended until July 31, 2022.

The previous deadline was set for March 31 following numerous extensions due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Read more here.

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