coronavirus illinois

Illinois Coronavirus Updates: Pritzker COVID Update, 2nd Booster Shot Eligibility

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

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Changes are being made to Illinois' COVID requirements following a recent announcement from Gov. J.B. Pritzker.

The shift comes as health officials urge those who are eligible for second COVID booster shots to get them as soon as possible.

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

Cook County Urges Residents to Take Precautions as Highly Contagious Variants Spread

With continued spread of the highly contagious BA.4 and BA.5 omicron subvariants, Cook County health officials are "strongly recommending" residents take added precautions.

The county's health department said most infections in the Midwest are being caused by the BA.4 and BA.5 variants, which are "more contagious than previous strains" and "can lead to more people being infected and gradual increases in hospitalizations."

“Not all variants are created equal,” Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck, Cook County Department of Public Health's chief operating officer, said in a statement. “Some variants are really contagious and cause more severe disease, while others are more difficult to spread and result in milder disease.” 

See the recommendations here.

COVID Mandates: Here Are the Changes Gov. Pritzker Made to the State's Policies

Saying Illinois is “moving toward living with” coronavirus, Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced a series of changes to state protocols for colleges, medical facilities and more.

That list of changes includes elimination of vaccine mandates, changes to COVID testing policies for unvaccinated employees, and several other tweaks to rules enacted during the pandemic.

Read more here.

Second COVID Booster Shot Eligibility: What to Know With BA.5 On the Rise

As new, highly-transmissible omicron subvariants spread across the U.S., in some cases evading immunity from earlier infections, many are wondering if they are eligible for a second COVID booster shot and, if so, when?

Currently, not everyone is eligible for a second booster, but experts are urging those who are to get it now.

So who is eligible for which shots and what do we know about what's ahead?

Here's the latest.

Which COVID Symptoms Are Most Associated With Newer Variants?

The fastest-spreading COVID-19 subvariants yet, the two latest versions of omicron appear to evade protection from vaccines and previous infections more easily than any others before.

With new COVID variants and subvariants behind many positive cases in Chicago and other parts of the country, many are wondering if symptoms are shifting with the newer variants as many begin to experience them.

Currently, the highly contagious BA.4 and BA.5 omicron subvariants account for most reported cases this summer.

Those subvariants have caused more upper respiratory, cold and flu-like symptoms, according to Chicago's top doctor, including fever, night sweats and sore throat. Some patients, though not all, are again experiencing a loss of taste and smell.

Read more here.

Novavax COVID Vaccine: What Makes It Different, When Shots Could Begin

Americans may soon get a new COVID-19 vaccine option -- shots made with a more tried-and-true technology than today’s versions.

Novavax received approval from the Food and Drug Administration for its COVID-19 vaccine Wednesday.

It’s late in the pandemic for a new choice, but the company is hoping to find a niche among some of the unvaccinated millions who might agree to a more traditional kind of shot -- a protein vaccine — and also to become a top choice for boosters, regardless of which type people got first. Only about half of vaccinated adults have gotten a booster.

So what exactly is Novavax and what should you know about the vaccine? Here's a breakdown.

Why Are New COVID Variants Bringing More Symptoms? Chicago's Top Doc Explains

With more people across the U.S. contracting the highly contagious BA.4 and BA.5 COVID-19 subvariants, doctors are warning of new, additional symptoms related to the virus.

Both BA.4 and BA.5 have caused more upper respiratory, cold and flu-like symptoms, according to Chicago's top doctor, including fever, night sweats and sore throat. Some patients, though not all, are again experiencing a loss of taste and smell.

Some doctors and researchers believe that because these new variants spread so rapidly, they more commonly impact mucosal immunity as opposed to longer-lasting immunity, Chicago Department of Public Health Dr. Allison Arwady explained.

Read more here.

Which COVID Variants Are Currently Spreading in the US? Here's What's Being Tracked Right Now

From omicron to BA.2 to BA.5 to BA.2.75, the list of COVID variants and subvariants continues to grow, but with newer versions outcompeting others, which ones are still around and spreading in the U.S.?

Here's a list of the most common subvariants of omicron currently spreading, according to the CDC, and information on when they originated, the threats that they pose, and what those numbers mean.

The First Thing You Should Do After COVID Diagnosis, According to Chicago's Top Doc

As two more contagious omicron subvariants take hold across the U.S., you may be wondering what steps to take if you test positive for COVID-19.

With the spread of several new subvariants of omicron, Chicago’s top doctor is offering advice to residents in the event that they test positive for COVID-19.

Speaking during her weekly “Ask Arwady” session, Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady offered her advice for residents who may test positive for COVID in coming weeks and months, including the very first thing they should do after that diagnosis.

Read more here.

How Are COVID Symptoms Shifting With New Variants? Here's What Chicago's Top Doc Says

The quickly changing coronavirus has spawned yet another super contagious omicron mutant that’s worrying scientists as it gains ground in India and pops up in numerous other countries, including the United States.

As the highly contagious BA.4 and BA.5 COVID-19 subvariants take over the U.S., some people are seeing new signs and symptoms surrounding the virus.

The new variants aren't offering a major change in symptoms, however, but Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said in a Facebook live event Tuesday that doctors are seeing additional signs.

"Nothing really significantly different, I would say, but just more symptoms. It's a more virulent infection," Arwady said.

Read more here.

Latest on Super Contagious Omicron Subvariant BA.5

A highly-transmissible mutation of the omicron COVID variant known as BA.5 is raising concerns globally as it continues to gain traction in several countries, sparking new waves of cases and, in some instances, hospitalizations.

The rise in case rates, even as metrics remain uncertain due to at-home COVID test availability, has sparked warnings and renewed calls for masking in some locations.

So what is it about the new variant that makes it particularly concerning and what should you be watching for?

Here's what we know so far.

COVID Exposure Guidelines: Here's How Long to Quarantine After Close Contact, Testing Positive

As infectious new subvariants of COVID-19 take over the U.S., how long should you quarantine from others if you've been exposed to the virus or test positive?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, any person who comes into contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID should quarantine, if not up to date on vaccinations.

Read more here.

First COVID Symptoms: How to Recognize the Onset of the Virus

After recent declines in COVID cases, several subvariants of omicron are making significant gains in the United States, with some studies indicating that they could potentially do a better job of evading existing vaccines and immunity.

According to the latest updates from the CDC, the BA.5 lineage of the omicron variant is now the most prevalent strain of the virus in the United States, responsible for nearly 54% of cases.

With those case trends, many individuals are curious about what symptoms typically appear first with a COVID infection, and how quickly those symptoms can appear.

Read more here.

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