coronavirus illinois

Illinois Coronavirus Updates: No States on Chicago Travel Order for Second Update

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For the second consecutive time since Chicago's emergency travel order took effect in July, there are no states on the list requiring a quarantine or negative test for people coming to the city who are not vaccinated against COVID-19.

Meanwhile, a new analysis of blood samples from 24,000 Americans taken early last year is the latest and largest study to suggest that the new coronavirus popped up in Illinois in December 2019 — weeks before cases were first recognized by health officials.

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

No States on Chicago's Travel Order for Second Consecutive Update

For the second consecutive time since Chicago's emergency travel order took effect in July, there are no states on the list requiring a quarantine or negative test for people coming to the city who are not vaccinated against COVID-19.

All U.S. states and territories remain in the "yellow" tier of the travel order as of Tuesday, with fewer than 15 new cases per 100,000 residents per day, the Chicago Department of Public Health said.

Any states above that case rate would fall into the "orange" tier which requires a 10-day quarantine or negative test no earlier than 72 hours before arrival in Chicago for those who are not fully vaccinated.

As of Tuesday, no states in the Midwest were above 4.8 cases per day per 100,000 residents, CDPH said, releasing the following data showing how each state's case rate has fallen in the past two weeks:

StateCases per 100,000 on 6/1/2021Cases per 100,000 on 6/15/2021

Chicago officials also noted that the city's daily case rate dropped "considerably," from 14.9 to 2.8, between May 7 through Tuesday.

More Evidence Suggests COVID-19 Was in Illinois by Christmas 2019

A new analysis of blood samples from 24,000 Americans taken early last year is the latest and largest study to suggest that the new coronavirus popped up in the U.S. in December 2019 — weeks before cases were first recognized by health officials.

The analysis is not definitive, and some experts remain skeptical, but federal health officials are increasingly accepting a timeline in which small numbers of COVID-19 infections may have occurred in the U.S. before the world ever became aware of a dangerous new virus erupting in China.

The study, published Tuesday online by the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases, is by a team including researchers at the National Institutes of Health. They analyzed blood samples from more than 24,000 people across the country, collected in the first three months of 2020 as part of a long-term study called “All Of Us” that seeks to track 1 million Americans over years to study health.

The researchers looked for antibodies in the blood that are taken as evidence of coronavirus infection, and can be detected as early as two weeks after a person is first infected.

The researchers say seven of the nine study participants — three from Illinois, and one each from Massachusetts, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin — were infected earlier than any COVID-19 case was originally reported in those states.

One of the Illinois cases was infected as early as Christmas Eve, said Keri Althoff, an associate professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the study's lead author.

Read more here.

Drawing Gives Cubs Fans the Chance to ‘Work From Home Plate' at Wrigley Field

Tired of phony Zoom call backgrounds, or of your pets bothering you while you're trying to work? The Chicago Cubs are here to help, launching a new sweepstakes where one lucky fan will get the chance to work from home (plate) at Wrigley Field. 

The team says every Cubs fan who purchases a single game ticket to a regular-season home game through the remainder of the 2021 season will be automatically entered for a chance to work from home plate on Aug. 23.

Entries will be limited to tickets purchased beginning Tuesday and running through Saturday, July 31. All valid 2021 Cubs season ticket accounts are automatically entered for the sweepstakes.

The winner will be randomly selected and notified around Aug. 7, the team says. That person will be granted access to work from home plate for 60 minutes, and the winner is also able to bring one other guest, the Cubs said. 

Each person gets up to 10 entries. More information can be found on the team's website.

Illinois Records Fewest New COVID Cases Since March 2020

Illinois public health officials on Monday reported the lowest daily cases of coronavirus since March 2020.

The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 165 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19, including 9 additional deaths.

Health officials also announced they will stop issuing daily coronavirus updates as the state continues to see lower infection rates and fewer reported cases and deaths. Instead, the Public Health Department will issue a news release on Friday's, with data on the website being updated every weekday.

“The immediate threat of the ongoing pandemic has decreased at this time, and the cadence of updates is being scaled back to reflect this change,” said Melaney Arnold, spokeswoman for the state’s health department

The state will distribute its first weekly update this Friday, with daily updates ending immediately.

Jason Heyward, Anthony Rizzo Discuss Decision Not to Get COVID Vaccine

Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo and outfielder Jason Heyward both made headlines over the weekend, as both players discussed their respective decisions not to receive coronavirus vaccination shots.

Rizzo told media on Friday that he had not been vaccinated against the virus, while Heyward discussed his decision not to receive the vaccine on Sunday.

The discussion comes as the Cubs continue to fall short of an MLB-mandated level of vaccination that would allow the club to dispense with many of the coronavirus restrictions still being implemented. At least 85% of the team’s “Tier 1” employees would need to receive the vaccine in order for those restrictions to be lifted, but President of Baseball Operations Jed Hoyer has said that the club hasn’t reached that level, and that he doesn’t anticipate that the club will.

Rizzo revealed Friday that he had not received the vaccine, saying that it hasn’t been an “easy decision” not to receive the treatment.

“It’s not an easy decision to make, but I think it’s the right decision for me and my family right now,” he said during an interview on ESPN 1000’s “Kap & J. Hood” show.

Rizzo said that he is “taking some more time to see the data” on vaccines.

Chicago Fire FC to Open Soldier Field to Full Capacity in July

Chicago Fire FC became the latest sports team in the city to throw their doors open to full capacity, announcing that the club’s July 3 game against Atlanta United FC will be the first to have 100% of tickets available for purchase.

According to the team, the 100 and 200 levels of Soldier Field will be able to be sold to capacity, with about 28,000 fans able to attend the contest.

“This is the moment our fans, city, players and staff have been waiting for,” Fire COO John Urban said in a statement. “The chance to finally showcase the full fan experience we’ve created inside and outside Soldier Field. We know the stadium will be buzzing with energy and passion, providing our players a special home field advantage.”

Tailgating will also be allowed to return on July 3, the team announced.

Read more here.

Health Officials in Illinois Say More Than 9,200 COVID Cases Linked to Variant Strains

The Illinois Department of Public Health has now linked more than 9,200 cases of coronavirus to five different variants of the virus, including nearly 6,200 cases of a strain that originated in the United Kingdom.

According to the latest data from IDPH, a total of 9,211 cases of the virus are now linked to variant strains of the illness.

By far the most prevalent of those strains is the Alpha strain. Formerly known as B.1.1.7, the strain has infected at least 6,187 residents in Illinois, according to officials.

Illinois is also seeing an uptick in cases connected to the Gamma strain of the virus. That strain, formerly known as P.1, has caused 2,405 cases of coronavirus in Illinois, and was originally discovered in Japan and Brazil, according to the CDC.

Read more here.

Phase 5: Everything to Know as Illinois and Chicago Reopen

Illinois fully reopened Friday, entering Phase 5 of the state's reopening plan.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who announced last month that the state was on pace to move into the final phase of its reopening plan, made the official announcement Thursday, citing continuing declines in COVID metrics and increases in vaccinations.

Still, while the phase does mark a full reopening, not all restrictions have been lifted.

Full breakdown on Phase 5 in Illinois.

Arwady ‘Very Confident' Illinois Can Avoid COVID Surge After Moving to Phase 5

While some residents have expressed concerns that rollbacks of coronavirus restrictions could lead to surges in virus cases, Dr. Allison Arwady says that she is “very confident” that case numbers are low enough in the state to prevent a large surge from happening in the early stages of summer.

Arwady, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, spoke out about the possibility of a surge Thursday, ahead of the state’s move into Phase 5 of its reopening plan.

“All the modeling looks very good when we look in the short term over the next few weeks,” she said. “So I’m not concerned in the short term about a major spike in COVID.”

Arwady pointed to increases in the number of vaccinated individuals as a key component in the decision to move forward. According to Illinois Department of Public Health data, more than 51% of the state’s adult residents are now fully vaccinated against COVID, with more than 68% having received at least one COVID vaccine dose.

‘These Are False’: Chicago’s Top Doc Debunks Viral Vaccine Magnet Social Media Videos

No, COVID vaccines will not make you magnetic, according to Chicago's top doctor.

Responding to social media videos showing people with keys, quarters or magnets sticking to their vaccinated arms, particularly on TikTok, Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said "there is nothing magnetic in the vaccine."

"We've talked about what is in these vaccines, there's really very little," she said during a Facebook Live Thursday. "There's the instructions to teach your immune system how to fight off COVID and then there's a little bit of a fat layer to help make sure that that's protected. There's a little bit of salt and sugar to make sure it's at the right pH and it works with your body, and that is it. So, these are false."

Arwady said the social media challenge started circulating as part of "recent myths" on the Internet related to "misinformation that there is a chip or something that is tracking in some way" inside the vaccines.

More on COVID vaccine ingredients and the magnet claims.

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