coronavirus illinois

Illinois Coronavirus Updates: New Subvariants Take Hold, Are Omicron Boosters Coming?

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

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Two new omicron subvariants are quickly spreading in the Midwest, taking over as the dominant strains as experts say there's one concerning element to them.

Plus, could you need an omicron-specific booster shot this fall and will it help with the newest variants?

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

Will You Need a New Booster Shot This Fall to Fight Omicron COVID Variants?

With new highly-transmissible omicron subvariants taking over the Midwest and U.S., could you need a new coronavirus booster vaccine this fall?

According to Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady, you could.

An advisory panel from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has recommended that booster shots be adjusted to better target the omicron COVID variant. However, Arwady noted the difficulties of this possible development.

Read more here.

New Omicron Subvariants Are Behind Most Cases in Midwest. Here's What Makes Them Different

New highly-transmissible omicron subvariants, BA.4 and BA.5, are now making up a majority of cases in the Midwest, Chicago's top doctor revealed, but there's one concern with the new variants that experts have noted.

Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said in a Facebook Live event Tuesday that the prevalent omicron strains are quickly shifting, with the latest two notably more infectious.

Read more here.

Have CDC Quarantine COVID Guidelines Changed? Here's What You Need to Know

As scientific discoveries arise and federal officials continue to update information around the coronavirus, have quarantine guidelines changed?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have not updated their quarantine and isolation guidance since March, according to the website.

Here's a look at what they are.

How Long Are You Contagious With COVID? Chicago's Top Doc Answers With the Latest Guidance

Chicago's top doctor, during a Facebook live event Tuesday, detailed when patients are most infectious and how to treat a positive test result after 10 days.

"You've gotta stay home for five days because typically those first five days are when you are the most contagious," Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said. "But in those days six to 10, some people still can be spreading virus."

Read more here.

BA. 4, BA.5 Omicron Subvariants Now Predominant COVID Strain in Midwest, Chicago's Top Doc Says

As the coronavirus continues to infect the nation, the BA.4 and BA.5 omicron subvariants are now the predominant strains in the Midwest, according to Chicago's top doctor.

Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said in a Facebook Live event Tuesday that the prevalent omicron strains are quickly shifting, with the latest two notably more infectious.

Read more here.

FDA Panel Recommends Changing COVID Shots to Fight Omicron This Fall

The Food and Drug Administration's panel of independent vaccine experts on Tuesday voted 19 to 2 to recommend new Covid-19 shots that target the omicron variant this fall, when public health officials are expecting a new wave of infections.

It is the first time the panel has proposed that vaccine makers modify the shots to target a different variant. The FDA will likely accept the committee's recommendation and authorize a vaccine change. However, the panel did not make a recommendation on which omicron subvariant the shots should target.

Read more here.

Chicago's Top Doctor Says COVID Vaccines Now Available For Everyone Over 6 Months Old Citywide

Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady announced Tuesday that all those ages 6 months and older can now receive a free COVID-19 vaccine in the city, following certification from federal officials.

"Please take the opportunity, if you've got a little one who is now eligible for a COVID vaccine, take the opportunity to get everybody else in the family up to date with vaccines," Arwady said in her COVID update Tuesday afternoon.

She reminded that, at this point, all teenagers and adults should have received three COVID vaccines to be considered "up to date" on vaccinations. Those over age 50 or severely immunocompromised, should have received four shots.

Are At-Home COVID Tests Lowering Case Counts? Chicago's Top Doctor Weighs In

Chicago’s COVID-19 community risk level is now at medium. But as the use of at-home coronavirus tests becomes widespread, questions about the accuracy of the city’s COVID metrics are also increasing.

COVID-19 case numbers and hospitalizations have dropped in recent weeks across Chicago, but some question whether smaller case counts can be attributed to an uptick in at-home COVID tests.

As of Thursday, the Chicago Department of Public Health reported an average of 675 confirmed cases each day, a 22% decline from a week prior. However, Dr. Allison Arwady, the commissioner of CDPH, noted the confirmed cases only included people who've had a "formal" test, such as a PCR test or ones conducted at pharmacies or doctor's offices.

Read more here.

COVID Symptoms vs. Cold: Here's How to Spot the Difference

If you've come down with a runny nose or sore throat recently, you may be wondering whether it's the common cold, allergies or a COVID-19 infection.

Health officials say it can be difficult to tell what illness you're experiencing based on the symptoms, but getting tested is one way to find out -- including people who have been vaccinated, experts say.

Read more here.

Are COVID Symptoms Changing With New Variants? Chicago's Top Doc Explains

Are COVID symptoms shifting with the newer omicron subvariants now spreading across the U.S.?

According to Chicago's top doctor, the answer remains unclear. Arwady noted that milder cases of the virus can make determining symptoms more challenging.

"We're seeing a lot of COVID that is often quite mild," she said, though she added that some early studies may show more intense illness specifically with newer BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants.

Read more here.

Chicago’s COVID-19 community risk level is now at medium. But as the use of at-home coronavirus tests becomes widespread, questions about the accuracy of the city’s COVID metrics are also increasing.

More People Testing Negative for COVID Before Eventually Testing Positive, Top Doc Says. Here's Why

More people are receiving multiple negative COVID tests before finally testing positive following exposure or symptoms with newer subvariants circulating, Chicago's top doctor said Thursday.

The reason behind the shift could be due to vaccinations.

"We think some of that is because, especially if people are fully vaccinated and or if they've had COVID before, they're not always...they're not getting as sick," Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said. "They're like not learning as much of an immune response and it can take a little bit longer sometimes for that test to turn positive. The good news is, generally... if the home test is negative, you're not very likely to have enough virus to be spreading, to be contagious."

Read more here.

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