coronavirus illinois

Illinois Coronavirus Updates: Moderna Study, CDC Report on Ill. Outbreak, New Travel Guidelines

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Chicago updated the guidelines for its travel advisory, changing recommendations for certain travelers as nearly every U.S. state is now under a warning level.

Plus, a new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention centers on an outbreak in Illinois this summer.

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

26 Illinois Schools Report COVID-19 Outbreaks, State Says

More than 25 Illinois schools are reporting COVID-19 outbreaks, mostly in districts that are complying with Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s school mask executive order.

The Illinois Department of Public Health on Tuesday identified 26 schools with COVID-19 outbreaks. The outbreaks reported by the department include those that have been identified by the school’s local health department to have at least two COVID-19 cases among people who may have a shared exposure on school grounds and come from different households.

More on Illinois schools' COVID outbreaks here.

Reflecting National Trend, COVID Hospitalizations Increasing Among Illinois Children

Coronavirus hospitalizations among children have continued to increase in the state of Illinois, with nearly 1,200 children having been hospitalized because of COVID-19 in the state since last summer.

According to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the state of Illinois is reporting an average of five new COVID hospitalizations per 100,000 children over the last seven days, representing a 22.2% increase over the previous week.

That number is tabulated over a seven-day period spanning from Aug. 17-23, according to the CDC. Data collected since that date is still considered “preliminary” by CDC officials, and “should be interpreted with caution.”

The number of COVID hospitalizations among children, while still significantly lower than it was during a peak in cases last November, has been steadily on the rise over the last month, increasing nine-fold since July 22.

That number is reflective of a national trend of increased hospitalizations among children, although Illinois’ numbers are increasing at a much slower rate than those of the United States as a whole.

Read more here.

Illinois Reports Biggest Single-Day Increase in Cases Since January

The state of Illinois continued a recent upward trend in coronavirus cases on Wednesday, hitting its highest single-day mark of new cases of the virus since late January.

According to data released by the Illinois Department of Public Health, the state recorded 5,178 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 over the last 24 hours, the highest single-day increase in cases since Jan. 22, when 7,042 cases were reported.

Wednesday marked the first time since Jan. 23 that the state had reported 5,000 or more new confirmed or probable COVID-19 cases.

Officials say 26 additional deaths have been confirmed in the last 24 hours, bringing the statewide total during the pandemic to 23,979.

Read more here.

Chicago Pride Parade Canceled For Second Year Amid COVID Concerns

Chicago's Pride Parade has been canceled for the second year as the COVID pandemic persists, organizers announced Wednesday.

Following last summer's cancelation due to the pandemic, the 2021 Chicago Pride Parade was rescheduled for later this fall to make way for COVID vaccines and LGBTQI+ History Month.

"We don't feel, though, that we can do it safely for everyone in the parade and the people watching," said 2021 parade organizer Tim Frye in a statement. "We must cancel the parade for the second year."

The 2021 event was previously scheduled to take place on Oct. 3.

What is a Variant of Interest? A Breakdown as WHO Adds New 'Mu' Variant to Watch List

The World Health Organization is monitoring a new coronavirus variant called "mu," which the agency says is now labeled a "variant of interest."

What does that mean?

There are three so-called categories of variants being monitored by global and U.S. health officials, but not all variants rise to the level of such classification.

Variants are categorized as "variants of interest," "variants of concern" and "variants of high consequence."

Read more here.

Suburban Woman Charged With Using Fake COVID Vaccine Card in Hawaii: Complaint

A woman from suburban Chicago has been arrested and charged with using a fake vaccine card with Moderna misspelled on it in an alleged attempt to avoid quarantining during a trip to Hawaii, authorities said.

Chloe Mrozak, of Oak Lawn, was accused of using falsified vaccination documents and was being held at the Honolulu Police Department, according to court records.

Read more here.

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.

Here's a breakdown of what we know so far about each vaccine.

New Studies Shed Light on Pfizer, Moderna COVID-19 Vaccines

Researchers in Belgium directly compared the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines by testing the antibodies of 2,500 health care workers after two doses of both vaccines.

The study found the Moderna vaccine produced more than double the antibodies compared to Pfizer, but doctors urge caution.

“Antibody level itself is interesting, but it doesn’t necessarily lead to a significant difference in the way the vaccine is performing,” said Dr. Allison Arwady, Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health.

Chicago is tracking breakthrough infections by vaccine, but Arwady said they haven’t found a substantial pattern.

Read more here.

CDC: 180 Cases of COVID-19 Linked to Illinois Church Camp, Men's Retreat

The Illinois Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have announced the findings of an investigation into an outbreak of COVID-19 cases that occurred following an overnight church camp and a two-day men’s conference, both of which were held by the same organization earlier this summer.

According to the findings, a total of 180 cases of coronavirus were ultimately linked to the events, including 122 that occurred among attendees.

Neither event required COVID-19 vaccination or negative test results before attendees arrived, and neither event encouraged attendees to wear masks while in indoor spaces, according to the report.

Read more here.

Arwady Recommends Parents With Unvaccinated Kids Avoid Labor Day Weekend Travel

As Chicago changes its recommendations for unvaccinated travelers as part of its travel advisory, what will parents need to do if they have unvaccinated children?

Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said ultimately the decision will be left to parents and schools, but she urged those with unvaccinated kids to avoid traveling for the long Labor Day weekend.

"It is higher risk," she said. "I would not recommend traveling, right, if you've got unvaccinated children, and particularly younger children. And the whole country is doing really badly from a COVID perspective right now so... I can tell you my own sister, you know, they have three young children who are too young to be vaccinated. They were hoping to go to Michigan for Labor Day, they're not going in the context of it now being an orange state and their kids not being able to be vaccinated. I know that's hard for people but we're just trying to avoid infection and I think especially when we're back in school the bar is a little higher in terms of trying to think about limiting that risk as much as possible."

Read more here.

Nearly 100 Quarantined After COVID 'Outbreak' Reported at Sycamore School, Supt. Says

Nearly 100 students are in quarantine after at least 17 tested positive for coronavirus in a suburban school district, officials said.

According to Sycamore Community School District 427, 97 students were quarantine as of Friday, 54 of which had close contact with a positive case.

The district, which has roughly 3,480 students overall, reported 17 positive cases at that time.

"A large portion of those quarantines were due to what the local [health department] identified as an 'outbreak' at our Middle School," Supt. Steve Wilder told NBC 5 in an emailed statement.

No positive cases or quarantines are currently reported in staff, according to the district's COVID dashboard.

Read more here.

Chicago Updates Travel Advisory Recommendations for Unvaccinated Travelers

Chicago has updated its travel advisory recommendations for unvaccinated travelers Tuesday, adding additional testing guidelines for those going to or coming from higher-risk locations.

Citing guidance from the U.S. Centers for the Disease Control and Prevention, the Chicago Department of Public Health said it now recommends additional testing for unvaccinated individuals.

The latest guidance comes just ahead of the long Labor Day weekend.

Here's a look at the updated recommendations.

Every US State Except 1 Now on Chicago Travel Advisory, Top Doctor Announces

Nearly every U.S. state, with the exception of one, is now on Chicago's travel advisory, the city's top doctor announced Tuesday, adding changes to the policy for travelers visiting "high-risk" locations.

Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said every state except Vermont is now on the city's list recommending unvaccinated travelers test negative for COVID-19 or quarantine upon arrival.

"So unfortunately COVID is surging across the entire United States," Arwady said. "The average right now is at 39 cases per 100,000 per day. We're doing much better than that here in Chicago, but nevertheless the news remains not good from a COVID perspective at the national level."

Read more here.

Chicago Businesses Cited Over Mask Mandate, City Says

Chicago has been enforcing its indoor mask mandate and a number of businesses have been cited in recent days for failing to comply, the city said.

According to Chicago Mayor Lori Lighftoot's office, the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) issued 16 "notices to correct" and 20 citations to businesses from Aug. 20 through Aug. 29. 

The city's new indoor mask mandate took effect on Aug. 20. A similar mandate for the entire state began Monday.

"As cases continue to rise in Chicago, BACP is putting all businesses on high alert and letting them know that we will be strictly enforcing the City of Chicago mask mandate," the mayor's office said in a release.

Proof, Testing, Religious Exemptions: What to Know About COVID Vaccine Mandates

With both Illinois and Chicago mandating COVID vaccines for certain groups, what are the requirements and what do you need to know?

Here's a breakdown of what we know so far.

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