Gov. J.B. Pritzker expressed optimism as the state's COVID metrics begin to show signs they may be starting to "flatten out."
Meanwhile, officials announced changes to the city's travel advisory as part of its weekly update after last week's report indicated two states were near removal from the list.
Here's what you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic across Illinois today:
Connecticut, D.C. Removed From Chicago's Travel Advisory
Connecticut and the District of Columbia were removed from Chicago's travel advisory, city officials announced Tuesday, marking the only locations to not be listed under the "orange" category of the travel guidance.
Last week, the advisory was updated to include every U.S. state, making Vermont the final location to be added to the city's warning list, which recommends unvaccinated travelers from such locations test negative for COVID-19 and quarantine.
In its previous update, city officials noted that two states – New Hampshire and Connecticut – as well as the District of Columbia, saw their case rates fall below the threshold, but they were not yet removed from the advisory as they needed to keep their levels low for two consecutive weeks.
New Hampshire remained on the list Tuesday, however.
Read more here.
Pritzker ‘Hopeful' as COVID Cases, Hospitalizations Show Signs of ‘Flattening Out' in Illinois
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker says that COVID numbers in the state may be beginning to “flatten out,” and that he is “hopeful” about the direction the state is heading in.
Pritzker spoke to media Monday about the COVID numbers, which had previously caused the state to re-institute a mask mandate for indoor spaces, even for vaccinated residents.
While the governor did not say when residents could expect the new mask order to be rescinded, he did say that several key metrics, including cases and hospitalizations, are starting to show signs of flattening out.
“It’s certainly heartening to see as I have that hospitalizations are not going up,” he said. “That’s a very important indication that maybe things have flattened out.”
Read more here.
COVID Metrics: Coronavirus Vaccination Rates Decline in Illinois After Summer Upswing
After a run of increased vaccinations across the state, likely caused by concerns over a delta variant-driven surge in COVID cases, vaccination rates are rapidly declining, decreasing by more than half in the last 10 days.
On Sept. 1, the state was averaging more than 40,000 new COVID vaccinations a day over a seven-day period. In just 10 days, that number has been more than cut in half, dropping to 19,102 average vaccine doses administered per day, according to data from the Illinois Department of Public Health.
Does the COVID Vaccine Affect Fertility? Here's What Chicago's Top Doctor Says
As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updates its guidance for pregnant women surrounding the COVID-19 vaccine, questions have surfaced regarding the vaccine's effect on fertility.
All three vaccines being used in the U.S. have shown no impacts, according to Chicago's top doctor.
As reported earlier this year, some people who menstruate saw changes to their periods after getting vaccinated, but Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said there have been no signs of any long-lasting symptoms.
Read more here.
FDA Official Hopeful 5- to 11-Year-Olds Can Get COVID Vaccine Before Start of 2022
The Food and Drug Administration’s vaccine chief said Friday the agency will rapidly evaluate COVID-19 vaccinations for younger children as soon as it gets the needed data — and won’t cut corners.
Dr. Peter Marks told The Associated Press he is “very, very hopeful” that vaccinations for 5- to 11-year-olds will be underway by year’s end. Maybe sooner: One company, Pfizer, is expected to turn over its study results by the end of September, and Marks say the agency hopefully could analyze them “in a matter of weeks.”
In the U.S., anyone 12 and older is eligible for COVID-19 vaccines. But with schools reopening and the delta variant causing more infections among kids, many parents are anxiously wondering when younger children can get the shots.
CPS Parents, Teachers Hold Rally Amid Concerns About District's COVID Protocols
Chicago Public Schools parents held a protest in front of Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s house Monday, aiming to give voice to their concerns over the dangers of the coronavirus.
The parents are seeking options to return to online learning, saying that they aren’t satisfied with the protocols and policies schools have put in place, or with the enforcement of those rules.
Protesters held a march on Monday in Logan Square, demanding accountability and other action items, with parents, students and some teachers gathering at the Logan Square Monument.
Read more here.
Pritzker Announces Programs to Provide Child Care, Other Services to Parents Seeking Jobs
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Illinois Department of Human Services Secretary Grace Hou have announced a program that will aim to give parents three months of free child care as they search for new employment.
Under the program, IDHS will expand eligibility for the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP), which gives three months of free coverage for unemployed parents who are seeking employment.
Beginning Oct. 1, parents who are unemployed and actively seeking employment will be eligible for three months of assistance. If parents become employed or enroll in an education program within that three-month period, they will remain eligible for CCAP coverage for up to 12 months, according to a press release.
COVID Patient at Center of Ivermectin Debate at Chicago-Area Hospital Dies
A coronavirus patient at the center of a debate after she requested to be treated with a controversial drug used in veterinary medicine called ivermectin has passed away, officials said.
Veronica Wolski, who was known for documenting demonstrations she held on a bridge over the Kennedy Expressway on YouTube, died early Monday morning, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner's office. Her cause of death was pending an autopsy.
Wolski, 64, often shared beliefs against the coronavirus vaccine and mask-wearing.
"I have never once worn a mask. I have called the police on people that tried to make me wear masks," she said in one of her videos.
Read more here.
Some Chicago Aldermen Want City to Require Vaccination Proof in Indoor Public Spaces
A number of aldermen wrote a letter to Chicago's top doctor Thursday, asking the city to require proof of COVID-19 vaccination for those visiting public indoor settings including restaurants, bars, movie theaters and concert halls.
In support of their recommendation, the eight members of the Chicago City Council's Committee on Health and Human Relations cited the uncontrolled community transmission of the delta variant, the threat of new variants, approaching colder weather as well as free and readily available FDA-approved and emergency-authorized COVID-19 vaccines.
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.
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