coronavirus illinois

Illinois Coronavirus Updates: Phase 5 Guidelines Explained, Restaurant Workers Needed

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As both the city and state prepare to fully reopen, businesses are gearing up for a return to some normalcy.

But for some, getting workers to return to work has been a challenge.

Plus, Phase 5 of the state's reopening will bring with it plenty of changes, but will you still need a mask? What about social distancing?

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

Increase in Colds and Flu Could Be Coming as Reopening Continues: Experts

Could reopening mark the return of colds and other illnesses that nearly disappeared or largely decreased during the coronavirus pandemic.

Experts say they are expecting a resurgence as public health guidelines change.

"We have seen many, many fewer other viral infections throughout this whole time," Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said Tuesday during a Facebook Live. "We've seen children be much much less likely to get a lot of the typical viral infections that they get. And so I think in general, as people do stop wearing masks, perhaps stop being so careful about hand washing, we probably will see some of the other viruses for which we do not vaccinate, that... don't put people in the hospital and don't significantly cause that, we may see increases of that. And it's certainly something that that we'll be paying attention to."

Dr. Mark Loafman, chair of family and community medicine for Cook County Health, told NBC Chicago "we absolutely do" anticipate an increase in colds, flu and other illnesses going forward.

More on this story.

Coronavirus in Illinois: 365 New COVID Cases, 11 Deaths, 44K Vaccinations

Health officials in Illinois reported 365 new confirmed and probable cases of coronavirus on Tuesday, along with 11 additional deaths and more than 44,000 new vaccine doses administered.

In all, 1,385,854 cases of coronavirus have been reported in the state since the pandemic began. The 11 additional deaths reported Tuesday bring the state to 22,974 confirmed COVID fatalities.

The state has administered 36,408 tests over the last 24 hours, bringing it to more than 24.9 million tests conducted during the pandemic.

More on Illinois COVID stats.

Cold or COVID? What to Know About Your Symptoms and When to Get Tested

As reopening continues across Chicago and Illinois, the return of colds and seasonal allergies have some questioning.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, allergies, colds and coronavirus overlap in some symptoms, like the potential for a cough, shortness of breath or breathing difficulties, fatigue, headaches, a sore throat and congestion.

Symptoms more associated with coronavirus include fever, muscle and body aches, new loss of taste or smell, nausea or vomiting and diarrhea.

Chicago health officials say it can be difficult to tell whether symptoms are related to seasonal allergies, a common cold or the coronavirus, but getting tested is one way to find out. That includes people who have been vaccinated for coronavirus, experts say.

More on this story.

Is It Safe for Pregnant Women to Get the COVID Vaccine? Doctors Weigh In

COVID-19 vaccines are unlikely to pose a risk for pregnant women, however only limited data on the safety of such vaccines in pregnant individuals remains available, according to updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC said last month it expects data from trials testing vaccines later this summer, according to a top official, and the agency has already received "reassuring data" on doses given to women in their third trimester.

More on the COVID vaccine and pregnancy.

Some Chicago-Area Restaurants in Dire Need of Workers

While the official start of summer is just weeks away, some Chicago-area small business owners say filling typical summer jobs has proven to be an especially difficult task.

Multiple business owners told NBC 5 it's hard to pinpoint why workers are slow to return following the pandemic. Some business owners say their vacancies could open up opportunities for others.

The Illinois Department of Employment Security told NBC 5 it saw a sizable over-the-week decrease in regular unemployment insurance in the restaurant industry for the week ending May 29. For that same week, there were just under 720,000 continued claimants on all state and federal benefit programs, the department added.

Sheraton Grand Reopens, Signaling Post-Pandemic Return of Hospitality Industry in Chicago

The Sheraton Grand, one of Chicago's five largest hotels, reopened Monday after a 15-month hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic. Five of the hotel's longest serving employees re-cut the ribbon to the mark the occasion.

"Today we start anew," said the hotel's general manager, Mark Lauer. "We start again to rebuild our hotel and help rebuild our city."

City officials were on hand for the ribbon-cutting and say it's a sure sign Chicago is open for business.

"2020 was a year of closure, of pain of sorrow. But 2021 is a year of hope," said Samir Mayekar, the deputy mayor of economic development. "This Friday we will be the largest open city in America."

White Sox to Host Pop-Up COVID Vaccination Event, Offer Free Tickets to Those Getting Shots

The Chicago White Sox will soon see their stadium ramped back up to full capacity, and as the team prepares to welcome fans back to Guaranteed Rate Field, new pop-up coronavirus vaccine events are being planned at the ballpark.

As part of Major League Baseball’s “Vaccine at the Plate” initiative, the White Sox and Cook County Health have partnered up to offer fans the chance to receive their COVID during their upcoming series against the Toronto Blue Jays.

Fans aged 18 and older who are planning to attend one of the games can sign up for an appointment to receive the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Appointments will be available from when the gates open at the ballpark through the end of the fifth inning. Walk-up appointments will also be available on a first-come, first-served basis, the team says.

More on the Chicago White Sox vaccine pop-up event.

What Are the Social Distancing Guidelines for Phase 5 in Illinois?

As Illinois enters Phase 5 of its reopening plan Friday, what will that mean for social distancing guidelines in the state?

According to guidance from the Gov. J.B. Pritzker, "Phase 5 removes requirements that businesses institute mandatory social distancing in seated venues."

Still, according to state guidelines, "businesses and venues should continue to allow for social distancing to the extent possible, especially indoors."

Complete guide to Phase 5 in Illinois.

Do You Still Need to Wear a Mask in Phase 5?

Will entering Phase 5 lift masking guidelines in Illinois and Chicago? The answer is not entirely, but it does bring with it some changes.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker last week released the guidelines for Phase 5 and what exactly it means for residents.

Under the new reopening stage, which begins Friday, the state will lift its outdoor mask requirement in schools in line with guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

According to the state's guidelines, upon entering Phase 5, fully vaccinated people can resume activities without wearing a mask except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.

Illinois will continue to recommend face coverings for unvaccinated residents, however.

Complete guide to Phase 5 in Illinois.

Chicago Launches 'Rediscover Summer' Campaign

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and First Lady Amy Eshleman will launch a new campaign Monday aiming to "excite and engage Chicago’s young people in all the city has to offer them as Chicago safely reopens."

The summer-long campaign is being called "Rediscover Summer" and will offer over 200,000 summer opportunities and events for city youth.

"Youth and parents alike are encouraged to visit and follow @MyCHIMyFuture on Instagram for updates on how they can rediscover summer," the city said in a release.

Phase 5 Illinois: Here Are the Guidelines for Reopening This Week

Illinois is set to fully reopen this week and enter Phase 5 of the state's reopening plan Friday.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker last week released the guidelines for Phase 5 and what exactly it means for residents.

While the phase is set to mark a full reopening, beginning on June 11, not all restrictions will be lifted.

Full breakdown of Illinois' Phase 5 guidelines.

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