coronavirus illinois

Illinois Coronavirus Updates: No States on Chicago Travel Order, State on Pace for Phase 5

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For the first 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, Gov. J.B. Pritzker says that his administration intends to move the state into the final phase of COVID mitigation strategies next week.

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

Coronavirus in Illinois: 478 New COVID Cases, 9 Deaths, 29K Vaccinations

Illinois health officials on Wednesday reported 478 new coronavirus cases and nine additional deaths in the past day, along with more than 29,000 vaccinations.

The newly reported confirmed and probable coronavirus cases bring the state total to 1,383,065 cases since the pandemic began and lift the total death toll to 22,842, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.

The statewide seven-day rolling positivity rate reported Wednesday was 1.5% of all tests conducted, and the average positivity rate for individuals tested in the last seven days was 1.8%, according to IDPH data.

The state reported 29,322 vaccinations in the last day, according to the latest data, bringing the seven-day rolling average of vaccinations to 41,234 doses.

More on Illinois COVID data.

Can Employers Require COVID Vaccines for Employees?

Can employers require COVID vaccinations for employees?

Yes, with some exceptions.

Experts say U.S. employers can require employees to take safety measures, including vaccination. That doesn’t necessarily mean you would get fired if you refuse, but you might need to sign a waiver or agree to work under specific conditions to limit any risk you might pose to yourself or others.

Discover more on COVID vaccination proof guidelines.

What is Phase 5 in Illinois?

Illinois is expected to enter its final reopening phase in a matter of days, but what will that mean for the state?

Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Tuesday that his administration intends to move the state into Phase 5 of COVID mitigation strategies next week.

“We are (meeting our goals), and in fact it’s (Phase 5) scheduled for June 11,” Pritzker said.

Phase 5 of the state’s coronavirus reopening plan would remove all remaining capacity limits and restrictions on all sectors of the economy, according to the state’s COVID website. Conventions, festivals and other large events would be allowed to proceed at full capacity, and masks will not be required for vaccinated individuals in most settings, per CDC guidance.

More on Illinois Phase 5.

Got Symptoms? You Should Still Get Tested for COVID Even If You're Vaccinated, Expert Says

Should vaccinated individuals get tested for coronavirus if they are experiencing COVID symptoms?

Yes, according to Chicago experts.

During a Facebook Live Tuesday with Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady, Dr. Isaac Ghinai, an epidemic intelligence service officer, said that while vaccinated individuals do not require COVID testing as often as non-vaccinated people, those with symptoms should still get tested.

Read more.

Illinois On Pace to Enter Phase 5 Later This Month, Pritzker Says

As the state of Illinois continues to see improvements in all of its key coronavirus metrics, Gov. J.B. Pritzker says that his administration intends to move the state into the final phase of COVID mitigation strategies next week.

Pritzker, speaking after the Illinois General Assembly adjourned on Tuesday, said that the state is on pace to meet its goal of eliminating all remaining COVID restrictions by next week, citing improvements in the state’s metrics as the reason behind the decision to move forward.

“We are (meeting our goals), and in fact it’s (Phase 5) scheduled for June 11,” Pritzker said.

More on what Phase 5 would mean for Illinois.

Pfizer, Moderna, J&J Vaccines: With Availability Increasing, Which Vaccine is Best for You?

With COVID vaccinations readily available across Illinois and Chicago, how can you know which vaccine is best for you?

According to Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady, there are various reasons why someone might choose a particular vaccine, but "the most important thing is that somebody gets vaccinated."

Still, it's a question she says she gets asked often. So, how does she answer?

"You know, J&J is the one shot vaccine. It also has a slightly less side effect profile, meaning people are less likely to get some of those side effects," she said during a Facebook Live Tuesday. "Those side effects are not dangerous, but they can be uncomfortable if you have them. So if I have someone who's really worried about side effects, or who's worried about trying to miss work or fit in a vaccine, or is just really nervous about the vaccine, I actually will often recommend the J&J vaccine for them because it's one and done."

More on the best vaccine for you.

No States on Chicago's Travel Order for First Time Since It Was Issued in July

For the first 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.

"Due to improving conditions around the country and the ongoing up-take of the COVID-19 vaccine, no states are above the 15 cases per 100,000 residents per day threshold," the Chicago Department of Public Health said in a statement.

As of the last update two weeks earlier, seven states were in an "orange tier" under the order, but those states - which included Colorado, Florida, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, West Virginia and Washington - were moved to the lesser "yellow tier" on Tuesday.

According to the city's date, the only states currently above 10 cases a day per 100,000 residents are Washington, Colorado, Wyoming, and West Virginia. No Midwest states are above 7.9 cases per day, per 100,000 residents.

More on Chicago's updated travel order.

Illinois Lawmakers Pass Bill to Let Bars Give a Free Drink to Vaccinated Customers

A bill passed by Illinois lawmakers over the weekend would let bars and restaurants give out a free alcoholic drink to customers who have gotten vaccinated against COVID-19.

The so-called "shot and a beer" provision is part of a bill that also allows bars and restaurants to serve cocktails to go, a measure that served as a lifeline to struggling businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Illinois House passed Senate Bill 104 on Thursday. The Senate passed the final version of the bill Sunday, sending it to Gov. J.B. Pritzker's desk. Pritzker has not yet indicated whether or not he plans to sign it.

The measure allows establishments with liquor licenses to give customers a free drink if they show proof that they've gotten the COVID-19 vaccine, as part of a promotional campaign incentivizing getting vaccinated.

Read more here.

More Than Half of Illinois Adults Now Fully Vaccinated for COVID

More than half of Illinois adults have been fully vaccinated for COVID-19, public health officials announced Sunday.

Overall 11.2 million vaccines have been administered in the state, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health. Health officials said about 67% of all adults have received at least one vaccine dose.

The news comes as the number of coronavirus cases has been declining in the state. Health officials on Sunday reported 602 new coronavirus cases and 18 additional deaths. The seven-day statewide positivity for cases as a percent of total tests is 1.7%.

Nearly 8,300 Illinois COVID Cases Linked to Variant Strains, Officials Say

Health officials in Illinois have confirmed nearly 8,300 cases of coronavirus caused by variant strains of the virus, including more than 5,500 caused by a strain that originated in the United Kingdom.

According to the latest data published by the Illinois Department of Public Health, a total of 8,282 cases of coronavirus have been linked to five different variant strains that have been detected in the state during the pandemic.

Of those cases, 5,575 have been linked to the B.1.1.7 variant, which originated in the United Kingdom and was first detected in the United States in Dec. 2020. The variant has been revealed to spread more quickly and easily than other variants, and UK researchers believe that it could cause an increased risk of death, although IDPH officials say those findings still require further verification.

Officials say that 2,101 cases of COVID have been linked to the P.1 variant, which emerged in Brazil in January. The variant’s mutations could make it more difficult for antibodies to fight it, according to researchers, and it was first detected in the U.S. in the same month.

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