coronavirus illinois

Illinois Coronavirus Updates: Masks and Omicron, Pritzker to Speak, CPS Returns

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Think you may have COVID? Experts say there are some early indicators of an infection you can watch for.

Plus, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker is set to deliver a COVID-19 update Wednesday, Chicago's mayor has tested positive and city schools are returning to classrooms.

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

Hundreds of Health Care Workers Being Deployed to Illinois Hospitals This Month

More than 2,000 health care workers have already been sent struggling hospitals across Illinois this month, but hundreds more are slated to be deployed in the coming weeks, Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Wednesday.

The governor, in a COVID-19 update, announced 552 additional workers are slated to arrive at state hospitals by next Friday. In addition, the state is sending another 340 workers from so-called "COVID reaction teams" to "respond quickly to emerging crises at hospitals and other healthcare facilities" within the next 10 days.

Read more here.

Illinois Changes Quarantine Rules and Isolation Guidelines for Schools to Align With CDC

Illinois schools now have new guidance on COVID-19 isolation and quarantine times as the state's board of education alters its guidelines to align with changes from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Previously, Illinois' health department said it would align with the new CDC guidelines, but that such protocols would not apply to schools. Then last week, officials said they were considering a change.

Here's a breakdown of the changes.

Watch Live: Gov. Pritzker to Give Update on Latest COVID-19 Surge at 1:30 p.m.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker is scheduled to give an update Wednesday on the "latest COVID-19 surge" in the state.

Details on what exactly Pritzker plans to discuss remain unclear, but the address is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. from Chicago's James R. Thompson Center.

Watch live in the player above or click here.

Changes to Expect as Chicago Public Schools Students Return to Class

Chicago Public Schools students will be greeted with some changes as they return to classrooms on Wednesday following a days-long battle between the city and teachers union over COVID safety protocols.

A tentative agreement between the two sides will bring expanded COVID-19 testing, added mask supplies, guidelines for when a school may switch to remote learning and more as schools resume in-person learning.

Classes were canceled for five days in the last week during a standoff between city officials and the Chicago Teachers Union, which peaked when teachers voted to return to remote-learning due to concerns about increasing coronavirus cases.

Read more here.

As CDC Weighs New Mask Guidance, Experts Give Advice on Which Covering is Best for You

With the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considering a recommendation that Americans wear more protective masks amid a surge in COVID cases caused by the omicron variant, medical professionals are offering their advice on which facial coverings are best.

Most medical professionals maintain that any mask is better than no mask out there, but different facial coverings come with different levels of protection.

Here's a breakdown.

Arwady Expresses Hope That Omicron Peak is Nearing Amid Mitigations, Declining COVID Metrics

As Chicago starts to see some declines in key coronavirus metrics, the city’s top doctor isn’t ready to say that the omicron peak has passed, but said that the city’s response to the surge is giving her hope that things could be heading in a better direction.

During a press availability on Tuesday, Arwady said that while she isn’t comfortable saying that the surge in COVID cases is flattening or moving past a peak, she is comfortable in saying that there has been good news in recent days.

“I know that the data is maybe giving you a sense of some potential relief. I am feeling that, but I can’t say for sure that we are flattening or past a peak,” she said. “But what I can say is there is real good news in terms of some of (our) response.”

Read more here.

COVID by the Numbers: Illinois Reports 28K New Cases, Sets New Hospitalization Record

The state of Illinois reported more than 28,000 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, with nearly 350,000 tests performed as officials continue to cope with the virulent omicron variant.

According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, a total of 28,110 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID were reported in the last 24 hours statewide.

In all, 2,488,380 cases of the virus have been reported since the pandemic began, and the state is now averaging 32,173 cases of COVID each day over the last week, a new record-high.

Read more here.

What is Deltacron and Should You Be Worried? Chicago's Top Doctor Explains

With reports surfacing of a so-called "deltacron" COVID mutation that combines both the delta and omicron variants come questions over whether it is real and what it could mean.

Chicago's top doctor was asked that question Tuesday during a COVID-related press conference, where she said variants are likely to continue developing during the pandemic, but "deltacron" is "not a formal word."

"It's a word that people are using. I think it's reflecting a fear that we're not done with variants, and I see no reason to think we are done with variants, just to be really clear about that," Arwady said. "The way people are using that is this concern [that] already omicron has almost all the characteristics of delta and it has most of the same genetic changes that delta had. But it's this idea of sort of pulling together some of what was worse with delta with some of what is worse with omicron. And, you know, there have been some individual cases where we've seen some additional genetic patterns."

Read more here.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot Announces She Has Tested Positive for COVID-19

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who is fully vaccinated and boosted, announced Tuesday that she has tested positive for COVID-19 and is experiencing mild symptoms. NBC 5's Regina Waldroup has the story.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who is fully vaccinated and boosted, announced Tuesday that she has tested positive for COVID-19 and is experiencing mild symptoms.

"Earlier today, I tested positive for COVID-19," the mayor tweeted around 2:40 p.m. Tuesday. "I am experiencing cold-like symptoms but otherwise feel fine which I credit to being vaccinated and boosted."

The mayor said she plans to continue working from home as she follows isolation guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"This is an urgent reminder for folks to get vaccinated and boosted as it's the only way to beat this pandemic," she said in a statement.

Read more here.

How Should You Wear a Face Mask to Prevent COVID Infection? Here's What Experts Say as Omicron Surges

As omicron COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations remain high across the U.S., health officials broke down how to best wear a face covering in order to prevent contracting the virus.

While face masks have become part of the country's landscape in the past two years, health officials say because the omicron variant is more contagious, a reusable cloth mask maybe not be the best option.

Here's what Dr. Allison Arwady, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, had to say.

This Early Symptom is One You Should Watch for With Omicron Infections Rising

If you've been exposed to someone with COVID and are watching for symptoms, what are some of the first signs you might be infected?

It's a question many are asking as omicron cases surge across the country and as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention update their quarantine and isolation guidelines, which now differ depending on whether or not you have a symptomatic infection.

Here's what we know so far.

Do You Need to Wait to Get Your Booster Shot If You Had COVID?

A rise in COVID cases is being met with a push to get people boosted against the virus, but what happens if you are infected before getting your extra dose?

Do you need to wait? If so, how long?

Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady addressed booster shot questions during a Facebook Live event Tuesday.

Read more here.

Chicago's Top Doctor Addresses Questions About Hospitalization Statistics

With the state of Illinois setting new records for patients hospitalized with COVID-19, there has been some pushback on just how those hospitalizations are defined.

As of Tuesday, there were 7,353 patients in Illinois hospitals that have tested positive for COVID. Of those, 1,152 are currently in intensive care units, according to the state Department of Public Health.

While the state of Illinois does not differentiate between people who are hospitalized specifically because of COVID from those who test positive for COVID while receiving care for another illness, Dr. Allison Arwady says that the distinction doesn’t change the fact that COVID causes the same issues for health care professionals whether or not it was the cause of someone’s admission to a hospital.

Read more here.

Which Vaccine is Best Against Omicron? What We Know as Pfizer, Moderna Prepare New Shots

With both Pfizer and Moderna preparing for additional shots specifically targeting the omicron variant, what do we know so far about vaccines and their effectiveness against the strain?

With booster shot eligibility and guidance changing, the omicron variant has already caused a shift as experts rush to slow the surge in cases nationwide.

Here's what we know so far.

What is 'Flurona' and What Are the Symptoms? Chicago-Area Doctor on What to Know

Yes, it's possible for someone to be diagnosed with both flu and COVID at the same time, doctors say. Cases of people who have tested positive for both viruses, in what has now been coined "flurona," have been reported recently.

But despite some false portrayals online, the viruses have not merged to create a new illness. They remain separate infections.

"Flurona is a thoughtfully-named experience that can in fact occur. The flu virus and the COVID-19 virus are different enough that they're different variants and they both can occur at the same time," said Dr. Mark Loafman, chair of family and community medicine for Cook County Health.

Here's what we know so far about "flurona" and what to expect.

Omicron Symptoms: Here's What to Watch For After COVID Exposure

Not sure if your symptoms are COVID-related?

Whether you were exposed or just aren't feeling well, experts say to assume that those who believe they might have a cold could have coronavirus. But what symptoms should you specifically be watching for?

It's a question many are asking as omicron cases surge into the new year following holiday gatherings and as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention update their quarantine and isolation guidelines.

Here's what we know so far.

Omicron and Quarantine or Isolation: Do You Need to Test Out? The Latest Guidance

If you test positive for COVID and isolate, do you need to take another test before you can see people again? What if you were exposed but have no symptoms?

It's a question many are asking as omicron cases surge into the new year following holiday gatherings and as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention update their quarantine and isolation guidelines.

Here's what we know so far.

How Long After COVID Exposure Could You Test Positive?

How long could it take for someone to test positive for COVID following an exposure to someone who had the virus?

It's a question many are asking following holiday gatherings amid surging omicron variant cases.

Testing demand continues to soar as the new year gets underway and some experts say the omicron variant has "sped up" timing for what many have come to know with COVID.

Here's what we know so far.

When Could Omicron Symptoms Start After COVID Exposure?

The omicron variant has changed some of what many came to know about the coronavirus and how it spreads, but now with new guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, some are wondering when they are most contagious and for how long after contracting the virus?

As cases of the coronavirus surge with the new omicron variant continuing to spread following the holidays, your chances of being exposed to someone with the virus have likely increased. But when might symptoms first appear following a potential exposure?

Some experts say the omicron variant has "sped up" timing for what many have come to know with COVID, including the incubation period, or the time between exposure and the start of symptoms.

"As we've seen these new variants develop - delta, now omicron - what we're seeing is everything gets sped up from a COVID perspective," Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said Thursday. "It is taking less time from when someone is exposed to COVID to potentially develop infection. It is taking less time to develop symptoms, it is taking less time that someone may be infectious and it is, for many people, taking less time to recover. A lot of that is because many more people are vaccinated."

Here's what we know so far.

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