coronavirus illinois

Illinois Coronavirus Updates: ‘Never COVID Cohort,' Return for Summer Festivals

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

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Chicago's top doctor addresses why some people contract COVID-19 while others appear to avoid the virus.

Meanwhile, spring and summer festivals are making a big return, many at "nearly their pre-pandemic size and scope."

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

What If You Test Positive for COVID After Quarantining? Here's What Health Officials Say

If you test positive for COVID-19 after quarantining and no longer showing symptoms, do you still have to remain in isolation?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a person is encouraged, but not required to take a coronavirus test after quarantining for five days post-diagnosis.

After five full days, a person can end the isolation period should they be fever-free for 24 hours without fever-reducing medication and other symptoms have improved, the CDC wrote online.

However, the CDC said the best approach would be to find an antigen test towards the end of the five-day isolation period.

Read more here.

Illinois to Appeal Restraining Order Issued in School Mask Mandate Suit, Pritzker Says

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Friday asked that the state Attorney General's office immediately appeal a decision by a downstate judge to implement a restraining order barring schools from enforcing mask mandates, school exclusion protocols and COVID-19 testing requirements.

The governor's office issued a news release in which he referred to Sangamon County Circuit Court Judge Raylene Grischow's decision as "misguided," saying schools may be forced to go remote if they don't have proper tools to keep students and staff safe.

Read more here.

Exclusive: Dr. Fauci Weighs in on Illinois' COVID Metrics, Masks and More

As Chicago and Illinois' COVID-19 metrics plummet from their all-time peaks just weeks ago, the doctor leading America's war against the virus sees signs for hope.

"Illinois is actually doing well," Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in an interview Friday. "The upper northeast and the Midwest, represented by Chicago and Illinois, are doing better in general than the rest of the country."

For more on the interview with NBC 5's Phil Rogers, click here.

As Metrics Improve, Will Illinois' Mask Mandate End Soon? Here's What Pritzker Says

The state of Illinois has seen decreases in COVID cases, positivity rates and hospitalizations in recent weeks, leading some to wonder if mitigations will be rolled back anytime in the near future.

Specifically, questions have emerged regarding the future of the statewide mask mandate and how much longer it will remain in effect.

Illinois is one of nine states where masks are currently required at indoor public places regardless of one's vaccination status.

As metrics have improved amid a decline in omicron variant-fueled cases, Gov. J.B. Pritzker revealed changes may be coming to the state's mask mandate.

Read more here.

Can Dogs, Cats Get COVID? Here's What Health Experts Say

Can dogs, cats and other pets contract COVID-19?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it's possible for animals to get COVID from people, but there's a low chance of animals spreading the virus to humans.

Most animals infected with the coronavirus had close contact with people who had COVID, such as pet owners and caretakers, the CDC said online.

Read more here.

Coronavirus in Illinois: 60K New Cases, 608 Deaths in Last Week as Cases and Deaths Drop

Illinois health officials reported 60,389 new COVID-19 cases over the past week, along with 608 additional deaths and over 200,000 new vaccine doses administered, marking a drop in cases and deaths from the previous week.

Last week, the state reported 123,812 new cases and 843 deaths.

The state’s positivity rate on tests in the last week dropped to 5.8%, a decrease from the 9.4% reported last Friday. Meanwhile, the positivity rate on individuals tested stands at 8%.

Read more here.

‘Never COVID Cohort:' Chicago's Top Doc on Whether Genetics Can Help Guard Against Serious Illness

The question of how some individuals seem to avoid contracting COVID-19 better than others has fascinated scientists throughout the pandemic, and Chicago’s top doctor cited a growing body of research that suggests there could be a variety factors at play when it comes to determining who gets sick with the virus and who doesn’t.

Dr. Allison Arwady, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, addressed the research that has been going on at a variety of levels to determine whether differences in immune systems and genetics can potentially offer more, or less, protection against COVID in different populations.

While she said that the idea of a “never COVID cohort” isn’t exactly accurate, preferring instead to focus on the idea that some individuals could have more resistance to serious illness, she said that there are plenty of factors being researched on that front.

Read more here.

Chicago Could Lift Vaccine Requirement ‘Not That Long From Now' If Downward Trends Continue: Arwady

Chicago's vaccine mandate in place at bars, restaurants and gyms could be lifted "not that long from now" should the city continue to see COVID-19 metrics trending downward, according to Chicago's top doctor.

As the city sees coronavirus cases, deaths and hospitalizations quickly decreasing, Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said in a Facebook live event Thursday that she hears people asking when the vaccine requirement could be removed.

"Not next week, I will tell you that," Arwady said. "But if we continue to see the drops like we've been dropping, it would not be that long from now, I think."

Read more here.

Taste of Chicago, Air and Water Show Will Return at ‘Pre-Pandemic Size and Scope'

Taste of Chicago and the Air and Water Show, among other spring and summer festivals, are set to make a return in 2022, many at "nearly their pre-pandemic size and scope," city officials announced Thursday.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events announced the dates for several notable festivals and special events hitting the city over coming months.

"Chicago’s spring and summertime programming is cherished by our residents and bolsters our tourism, hospitality and creative industries,” Lightfoot said. “I am thrilled that we can bring back our iconic music and food festivals, as well as hundreds of other events. This will help to bring a sense of normalcy back to our city and revitalize the local economies of our neighborhoods.”

Full list here.

Illinois Health Officials Begin Preparations as Pfizer Seeks Approval for Children Under 5 to Get COVID Vaccine

With Pfizer submitting data Tuesday to the Food and Drug Administration to allow for an emergency use authorization on its COVID vaccine for children under the age of five, Illinois health officials are working to ready themselves to administer those shots as soon as the go-ahead is given.

According to a press release issued by the Illinois Department of Public Health, officials are working to prepare for the likely event that the FDA will authorize COVID vaccine doses for children between the ages of 6 months and 4 years old.

“We are looking forward to the availability of a COVID-19 vaccine for our youngest population, once it’s reviewed by the CDC,” Dr. Ngozi Ezike, director of IDPH, said in a statement. “As we move toward coexisting with COVID-19, it is important that we are able to offer as much protection as possible from COVID-19-related hospitalizations for all ages.”

Read more here.

More Details on Version of COVID Variant Now Found in Illinois, Wisconsin

A version of the omicron variant dubbed "stealth omicron" is being monitored by scientists and health experts around the world, and has now been detected in both Illinois and in Wisconsin, according to health officials.

According to officials at Northwestern University, the first case of the BA.2 omicron subvariant was detected in Illinois Monday. The first case in Wisconsin was also reported on Monday, according to Milwaukee County health officials.

This version of the coronavirus is widely considered stealthier than the original version of omicron because particular genetic traits make it somewhat harder to detect on PCR tests.

Read more here.

Illinois Reports First Case of ‘Stealth Omicron' Subvariant BA.2

The first case of the BA.2 omicron subvariant, often called "stealth omicron," has been detected in Illinois, Northwestern University officials said Monday.

The case was discovered by Northwestern Medicine’s Center for Pathogen Genomics and Microbial Evolution (CPGME) over the weekend, according to a news release from university officials.

The individual who contracted the variant was tested for COVID-19 on Jan. 18, however additional information about the person, including where in Illinois they're located, wasn't available. It isn't the first case to be detected in the Midwest as a Milwaukee County health official said Monday the subvariant had also been reported in Wisconsin.

Read more here.

Free COVID Test Kits: How Illinois Residents Can Get Them and Where

There are now multiple ways some Illinois residents can order free COVID test kits, but your options depend on where you live as new state and federal programs begin.

In certain ZIP codes in 14 Illinois counties, thousands of at-home, rapid COVID tests are being made available for free, the Illinois Department of Public Health announced last week.

That's on top of a government program that launched earlier this month for all Americans.

Here's what to know about how and where residents in the state can get free COVID test kits.

Residents in These Illinois ZIP Codes Can Get Free At-Home COVID Tests From IDPH

In 14 Illinois counties, thousands of at-home, rapid COVID tests are being made available for free, the Illinois Department of Public Health announced Friday.

According to the department, 225,000 test kits are being made available through Project Access COVID Tests to residents in certain zip codes.

Residents in the eligible communities can order the tests via, where they can sign up for a free home delivery. Each household will then receive five tests, or one kit, within two weeks of ordering. Shipping is free, IDPH noted.

List of eligible ZIP codes here.

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