coronavirus illinois

Illinois Coronavirus Updates: First $1M Lottery Winner, Vaccine Efficacy Against the Delta Variant

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The first winner of the Illinois vaccine lottery's $1 million prize was announced Thursday.

Meanwhile, Chicago will likely add two to three states back onto its travel advisory next week as some areas see a rise in coronavirus cases.

And just how effective are the three different vaccines against the delta variant?

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

Coronavirus in Illinois: 2,945 New COVID Cases, 53 Deaths, 120K Vaccinations Over Past Week

Health officials in Illinois on Friday reported 2,945 new confirmed and probable cases of coronavirus in the last week, along with 53 additional deaths and more than 120,000 new vaccine doses administered.

In all, 1,395,497 cases of coronavirus have been reported in the state since the pandemic began. The additional deaths reported this week bring the state to 23,297 confirmed COVID fatalities.

The state’s seven-day positivity rate on all tests rose to 1.5%, and the seven-day positivity rate on individuals tested rose to 1.7%.

Over the past seven days, a total of 120,675 doses of the coronavirus vaccine have been administered to state residents. That brings the state’s average to 17,239 daily vaccination doses over the last week, according to IDPH data.

State officials say more than 57% of adult residents in the state are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19, with nearly 72% receiving at least one dose.

As of midnight, 430 patients are currently hospitalized due to COVID in the state. Of those patients, 91 are in intensive care units, and 35 are on ventilators.

Pritzker ‘Very Pleased' to See CDC's New Mask Guidance for Students, Teachers

Shortly after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday announced new COVID-19 guidance for masking in schools, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker told reporters he was "very pleased" to see the recommendations released.

According to the new guidance, vaccinated teachers and students don't need to wear masks inside school buildings, a change that comes amid a national vaccination campaign in which children as young as 12 are eligible to get shots, as well as a general decline in COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths.

Pritzker said at an unrelated news conference Friday that upon his first read of the guidance, he feels the CDC's goals are the same as his own: "getting every child ... back into school this fall."

"I will say it also focuses on what I have focused on for more than a year now," Pritzker said, "which is everybody's safety and health. So the combination of that I think was, seems to have been achieved."

Pritzker said the Illinois Department of Public Health was looking at the guidance and state health officials planned to discuss it later on Friday.

First $1M Winner For Illinois Vaccine Lottery Announced, From Chicago

The first winner of the Illinois vaccine lottery's $1 million prize was announced Thursday, as well as three winners of $150,000 scholarships.

The winner of $1 million is from Chicago, according to Illinois officials. Three young people from DeKalb, suburban Cook County and Chicago won the scholarship money.

Residents from those cities and counties are advised to keep their phones on and check their emails regularly to find out if they've won, Illinois officials said.

The Illinois Department of Public Health will call from (312) 814-3524 or email from Officials reminded that no personal information will be requested in the initial phone call or email.

"Winners will have seven days to securely complete, sign and send the authorization form to IDPH to accept their prizes." officials said in a release. "Winners will be announced eight days after each draw unless they choose to remain anonymous."

The "All In for the Win" lottery will give out the $10 million in the form of $7 million in cash prizes for adults and $3 million in scholarships for youth, all distributed through weekly drawings, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said.

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.

Chicago Likely to Add ‘2 or 3' States Back to Travel Advisory Amid Rise in COVID Cases, Top Doctor Says

Chicago will likely add two to three states back onto its travel advisory next week as some areas see a rise in coronavirus cases, the city's top doctor said Tuesday.

"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.

"And there are a number of states, two or three, that are likely to go back on our travel advisory, right, where they are actually having significant surges, not just of cases but of hospitalizations from COVID," Arwady continued in answering a question about mask mandates on public transportation.

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 the city said the emergency guidelines can be reinstated at any time "if significant surges are seen in any state."

Chicago's travel advisory is slated to next be updated on July 13, with any changes taking effect that Friday. It was not immediately clear if any states added back to the advisory would reinstate the quarantine or negative testing requirements of the previous order.

How Chicago's Top Doctor Assesses the COVID Risk of Traveling to Different States

How should you decide if you should go to a certain location as travel picks up while the U.S. continues to navigate the coronavirus pandemic?

Chicago's top doctor shared her process for making recommendations Tuesday, saying what she includes in her consideration is the spread of COVID-19 in the particular area one might be thinking about visiting.

Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady gave details on her process in response to a question during a Facebook Live broadcast on Tuesday. A viewer said he had a funeral to attend in Milwaukee and needed to bring his 80-year-old aunt. Both of them are fully vaccinated, he said, but noted that he wasn't sure about all the other attendees and wondered if he should be concerned for his aunt.

"This is exactly a question that I think a lot of us are thinking about," Arwady said in response. "And the good news is that if you are fully vaccinated and your aunt is fully vaccinated, you know, broadly your protection is very good. And you're right, you know, if you're not sure about all the others… you are going into a situation that could have some risk. I don't know your aunt, I don't know what underlying condition she has, but she's 80 so that is kind of a higher-risk situation."

Arwady said that her recommendation would "broadly" be to go to the funeral, based on the information given, particularly if it's someone the aunt was close with.

"When I am helping people make these decisions individually, I sometimes actually take a look at the area where someone's going to be traveling to have a sense of that," she said, noting cases across the U.S. are up about 5% before diving into specific areas.

Arwady recommended researching each state or region's rolling average number of new cases per day, adjusted for population, as well as trendlines in how much new cases have gone up or down in a particular area in recent days before deciding to travel there.

Read more here.

Crowds Flock to Chicago's First Major Concert Since Pandemic

Country music star and Illinois native Brett Eldredge wowed a massive throng of fans in the parking lot of the United Center late Thursday during Chicago's first major concert since the pandemic.

The four-day Windy City Smokeout features more than a dozen country music artists, barbecue from states all across the country and all different kinds of craft beer.

The event has been a long time coming for organizers and festival-goers, who are celebrating a rite of summer returning after a year off due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Better Business Bureau Warns of Potential Illinois Lottery Vaccine Scammers

The Better Business Bureau of Chicago and Northern Illinois warned residents of new scams as the first “All In for the Win” Vaccine Lottery drawing takes place this week. 

“Other states that have rolled out vaccination lotteries have reported multiple scam attempts, and fraudsters will be ready to take advantage in Illinois as well,” President and CEO of BBB of Chicago and Northern Illinois, Steve Bernas, said in a statement.

“Scammers follow the news and look for opportunities to take advantage of peoples emotions. With the announcement of Illinois first selection of $1 Million dollars, and no official entry process, we know reports of fraud attempts will be coming in the aftermath,” said Bernas.

Get tips from the BBB here.

Chicago Pushes Student Vaccinations Ahead of School Year

Chicago schools will encourage student COVID-19 vaccinations ahead of the start of the school year with school-based vaccination sites and events, officials announced Wednesday.

Officials with the nation’s third-largest school district plan to offer full in-person instruction in the fall and want to vaccinate as many students as possible before classes begin next month. District officials said they are “not in a position” to mandate COVID-19 vaccines, but will ask families to submit COVID-19 vaccine documents as is the practice with other vaccinations.

Starting next week the district will offer vaccines at three school sites for students and their families. The sites will be able to administer 600 doses weekly. The district is also working with hospitals for vaccination events in areas with low vaccination rates and offering the shots at back-to-school events.

More than 50,000 children under the age of 18 have already been vaccinated in Chicago, according to the city’s Department of Public Health. Roughly 350,000 students attend Chicago Public Schools.

Are COVID Vaccines FDA Approved? Here's the Latest

It's a question many are asking as coronavirus vaccinations continue across the U.S.: are the COVID vaccines FDA approved?

Currently, no coronavirus vaccine is fully approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, but three were given emergency use authorization by the agency: one each from Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson.

Pfizer is currently the only vaccine authorized for emergency use in adolescents between the ages of 12 and 17, though Moderna filed for such approval on last month.

Emergency use authorization allows a vaccine to become available prior to full approval in the case of public health emergencies. The FDA can revoke the EUA at any time.

"The vaccines met FDA’s rigorous scientific standards for safety, effectiveness, and manufacturing quality needed to support emergency use authorization," the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states on its website.

But Chicago's top doctor expects full FDA approval could be granted as early as the fall.

"I expect that these vaccines will get what's called the full FDA approval soon," Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said during a Facebook Live Tuesday. "I would guess this will probably be in the maybe September range."

Read more here.

COVID Metrics: Positivity Rates Surge in Illinois Healthcare Regions Along Missouri Border

While most of Illinois is continuing to see historically-low coronavirus positivity rates, areas in the southwestern portion of the state that share a border with hard-hit Missouri are seeing rapid increases in positivity rates and hospitalizations.

Region 4, which borders St. Louis, has seen a massive jump in positivity rates in recent weeks. According to data from the Illinois Department of Public Health, the region had a 1.5% positivity rate on all tests on June 6. Less than a month later, that positivity rate has now more than tripled, currently standing at 5.1%.

Hospitalizations have also risen dramatically in the region, increasing for 13 consecutive days according to IDPH data.

In Region 3, which includes Springfield and several counties that border Missouri, positivity rates have nearly quadrupled in a matter of weeks. On June 16, the positivity rate was at 1%, and as of July 3, it is now at 3.7%.

In Region 5, comprised of counties in the far southern tip of Illinois, positivity rates have nearly quadrupled from 1% on June 1 to 3.7% as of July 3. Hospitalizations have also increased each of the last five days.

What Are Your Chances of Catching the Delta Variant If You're Fully Vaccinated? Chicago's Top Doc Weighs In

If you're fully vaccinated against COVID-19, how likely is it that you could contract the rising delta variant that experts warn is more transmissible? Chicago's top doctor weighed in Tuesday.

"So this is where, again, luckily, the vaccines have continued to perform well and we shared some data, Pfizer Moderna and J&J have now put some data out showing that their vaccines do remain protective against the delta variant, though you lose a little bit," Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said.

More on the delta variant and vaccines.

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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