President Joe Biden revealed his “action plan" plan to address a surge in coronavirus cases driven largely by the spread of the delta variant, but what will it mean for you?
Plus, coronavirus outbreaks are being tracked in Illinois schools and new numbers are expected to be released Friday.
Here's what you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic across Illinois today:
Where to Find Free Drive-Thru Walgreens COVID Testing Near Chicago
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Walgreens is offering free, drive-thru COVID-19 testing at various locations across the Chicago area, as more businesses and venues require negative results for entry.
For people ages 3 and up, Walgreens provides contactless coronavirus testing at select locations around the city. The company noted pharmacies do not provide walk-in COVID testing. Rather, all testing is performed from the vehicle window.
To see a list of drive-thru locations nearby, click here and search your ZIP code.
For more on how to get tested, click here.
Delta Variant Caused More Severe Breakthrough Cases Than Expected in Midwest, Risk 10x Higher for Unvaxxed: CDC
A new CDC study out Friday provides what may be the most jolting evidence yet of the threat the highly contagious delta variant may pose to the fully vaccinated, particularly as it usurped every other COVID-19 strain to dominate American cases.
What's also clear though: That danger is magnified 10 times for people who aren't fully immunized against the virus, researchers found.
The health agency analyzed percentages of total cases, hospitalizations and deaths by vaccination status across 13 jurisdictions, including those in Indiana and Minnesota, between April 4 and July 17, which was when delta's U.S. prevalence soared from less than 1% of new weekly cases to 90% of new weekly cases.
Read more here.
More Than 100 COVID Outbreaks Reported in Illinois Schools
More than 100 coronavirus outbreaks have been reported at schools across Illinois, with several involving more than a dozen cases at educational institutions, according to statewide data.
The latest figures from the Illinois Department of Public Health show 128 outbreaks are active at Illinois schools as of Friday, including 14 in Cook County alone.
At Glenbrook Elementary School, an outbreak involving anywhere between 11 and 14 students has been reported, while another outbreak at St. Mary Catholic School, located in Mokena, involves between five and 10 cases.
At least 11 outbreaks have also been reported in Will County, including two involving more than five cases at Reed-Custer Elementary School and Eichelberger Elementary School.
Some of the worst outbreaks have been occurring in western and southern Illinois, including in several school districts in Macoupin County. Over 16 cases of the virus remain active at various schools across the area, according to officials.
Check which Illinois schools are reporting outbreaks here.
Coronavirus in Illinois: 26,062 New COVID Cases, 197 Deaths, 143K Vaccinations in the Past Week
Illinois health officials on Friday reported 26,062 new COVID-19 cases in the past week, along with 197 additional deaths and over 143,000 new vaccine doses administered.
In all, 1,564,386 cases of coronavirus have been reported in the state since the pandemic began, according to the latest data from the Illinois Department of Public Health. The additional deaths reported this week bring the state to 24,261 confirmed COVID fatalities.
COVID by the Numbers: Coronavirus Metrics in Each of Illinois' 11 Health Care Regions
While several health care regions in Illinois are seeing improving positivity rates and ICU bed availability numbers, just about every region is still seeing increases in hospitalizations related to coronavirus.
According to the latest data from the Illinois Department of Public Health, only two regions in the state have seen hospitalization numbers remain steady, or decrease, on at least seven of the preceding 10 days, one of the benchmarks regions previously had to hit in order to reduce COVID mitigations.
Mixed Reactions Follow Biden Directives on COVID Vaccine, Testing Mandates
Area residents are reacting after President Joe Biden announced sweeping new COVID mitigation strategies on Thursday, including ordering that companies with more than 100 employees require those workers to either receive the COVID vaccine or submit to weekly COVID testing.
The White House estimates that the mandates could affect 80 million Americans who are still not vaccinated against the virus.
Read more here.
Biden Unveiled a New Plan to Confront the Delta Variant Surge. Here Are the Key Parts
President Joe Biden on Thursday unveiled a new “action plan" plan to confront the COVID-19 surge that’s being driven by the spread of the delta variant.
It mandates vaccines for federal workers and contractors and certain health care workers, requires employees at companies with 100 or more workers to be vaccinated or tested weekly, lays the groundwork for a booster shot campaign and recommends that large venues require proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test. The plan also makes recommendations on keeping schools open.
Common Cold vs. COVID: What to Know About Your Symptoms and When to Get Tested
With cases of the delta coronavirus variant sparking surges across the country, what should you know about your symptoms and when should you get tested?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the common cold, allergies and coronavirus overlap in some symptoms, like the potential for a cough, shortness of breath or breathing difficulties, fatigue, headaches, a sore throat and congestion.
How to Track COVID Outbreaks in Illinois Schools
As many schools head back to classrooms this fall, health experts say coronavirus cases are expected, but how can you track whether an outbreak has been reported and where?
While some schools offer case trackers of their own, Illinois' health department releases data each week showing COVID outbreaks from the previous 30 days at schools across the state.
According to the health department, outbreak information is reported once an investigation is considered complete. An outbreak is defined as "those that have been identified by the local health department to have two or more COVID-19 cases who may have a shared exposure on school grounds and are from different households."
The data is released every Friday by public health officials.
Read more here.
COVID Vaccine for Kids Under 12: Doctors Give Latest Look at Timing on Study Results
Doctors say trial data could be released next month that could soon pave the way for emergency use authorization of COVID vaccines in kids under the age of 12.
A doctor supervising the Moderna clinical trial at Chicago's Lurie Children’s Hospital said he expects authorization could come this fall for kids age 5 to 11, and by the end of the year for younger children.
Moderna vs. Pfizer: Is One Vaccine Stronger Against Delta Variant?
With many now able to choose which COVID vaccine they receive, questions surrounding which offers better protection against the now-surging delta variant have spiked.
Several studies have been conducted to determine vaccine effectiveness, but is one vaccine actually better than the others?
According to medical experts, the three vaccines currently available in the U.S. each offer protection.