coronavirus illinois

Illinois Coronavirus Updates: Pritzker Gives COVID Update, Omicron Travel Woes Continue

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Holiday travel frustrations grew over the weekend and into Monday as omicron caused staffing shortages for a number of airlines, sparking hundreds of flight cancellations.

Meanwhile, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker discussed the new variant while delivering a COVID-19 update for Illinois.

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

Illinois' Top Doctor Addresses Rising Pediatric Hospitalizations Amid COVID Surge

Across the U.S., some states are reporting an increase in pediatric hospitalizations as the new omicron variant continues to spread and Illinois' top doctor said the state is watching such numbers very closely.

"So, we have seen that [increase] in some other states very clearly," Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said Monday. "We're still looking at our numbers. I have anecdotally talked to many pediatricians who are heads of departments or hospitals who are seeing that there is an increase, so we are going to continue to follow those numbers."

The New York State Department of Health issued a warning Friday of a “striking increase” in new hospital admissions for children — particularly of unvaccinated children — amid spiraling coronavirus outbreak numbers in the state.

Read more here.

NHL Postpones Blackhawks-Jets Game in Winnipeg

The NHL announced that Wednesday's Blackhawks game against the Winnipeg Jets has been postponed for COVID-19-related reasons. 

The news comes less than 17 hours after Tuesday's contest against the Columbus Blue Jackets was postponed.

The Blackhawks, who have had three consecutive postponements, placed Marc-Andre Fleury in COVID protocol on Monday just before practice. Calvin de Haan was removed from the list, which means Fleury is the lone Chicago player in protocol.

Read more here.

Illinois to Hold Booster Clinics, Increase Testing and Hospital Staffing Amid Surge in COVID Cases

In delivering his first COVID update since the omicron variant first arrived in Illinois, Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Monday said the state is taking new measures to address surging cases and hospitalizations and a heightened demand for testing after the Christmas holiday and ahead of New Year's Eve celebrations.

Pritzker announced that the state will soon increase access to both testing and booster shots in an effort to combat the increased spread across the state, as well as providing staffing assistance to hospitals in need.

“I’m announcing this surge staffing to support our local health departments to vaccinate and boost tens of thousands more Illinoisans,” Pritzker said in a statement. “We are also increasing testing and continuing to distribute monoclonal antibodies, anti-viral pills and any treatments or personal protective equipment communities need."

Read more here.

More Than 80 Flights Canceled in Chicago Monday as Omicron Leads to Flying Frustrations

Chicago airports reported dozens of canceled flights once again Monday as the omicron variant caused airline staffing issues in the midst of one of the busiest holiday travel periods.

Chicago airports reported dozens of canceled flights once again Monday as the omicron variant caused airline staffing issues in the midst of one of the busiest holiday travel periods.

As of Monday morning, more than 80 flights were reported canceled at both Midway and O'Hare airports in the city.

As of 5:30 a.m., 54 cancellations were reported at O'Hare Airport, along with more than 86 delays in the last 24 hours. Midway International Airport reported 30 flight cancellations and 14 delays in the most recent 24-hour time period.

A total of 1,233 U.S. flights had been canceled as of 6 p.m. Sunday, and another 5,118 flights were delayed, according to the flight tracking website By early Monday, more than 700 flights were canceled.

Read more here.

NHL Postpones Blackhawks-Blue Jackets Game

The Chicago Blackhawks season will be on pause a little bit longer.

The NHL announced the Blackhawks game against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday night will be postponed for COVID-related reasons.

The NHL also suspended two other games on Wednesday, Dec. 29.

Read more here.

‘Can't Stop COVID Without You:' Advocate Aurora Health Issues Call to Action in Newspapers

With the pandemic nearing two years and the U.S. facing another surge in COVID-19 cases, the chief nursing officer at Downers Grove-based Advocate Aurora Health admits health care workers are tired, saying they're experiencing fatigue and an "emotional drain."

As a result, the health system placed a call to action in Sunday newspapers across Illinois and Wisconsin, pleading with residents to get vaccinated.

The advertisement begins with "We can't stop COVID without you," in a large font, taking up nearly half a page of the one-page ad.

"Beds are full. Wait times are long," the ad continues. "And the strain on our health care team, undeniable. The doctors, nurses and countless others who have so skillfully and compassionately cared for our communities are hurting..."

Read more here.

Southern Illinois University Will Require COVID Tests, Rather Than Online Learning, After Break

Southern Illinois University officials will rely on testing rather than a period of remote classes to prevent the spread of the coronavirus following the holiday break.

Classes are set to begin Jan. 10 and SIU Carbondale officials have told students, faculty and staff that they must complete a COVID-19 test within 48 hours of returning to the campus.

Those fully vaccinated against the coronavirus also must be tested, The Southern Illinoisan reported. People who have not been vaccinated will have to be tested weekly.

Other universities in Illinois have opted to begin the spring semester remotely amid concerns that the holidays and omicron's arrival in the state will cause widespread cases.

Read more here.

What Should You Do If You Test Positive for COVID or Were Exposed During the Holidays?

What should you do if you or someone with whom you have been in close contact tests positive for coronavirus during the holidays?

As families and friends gather to celebrate Christmas, New Years and other holidays, many are looking for information on how long to quarantine, if at all and how long they might be contagious.

Here's a look at the guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on what to do if you test positive or believe you were exposed to someone who has.

How to Add Your COVID Vaccine Card to Apple Wallet Before Chicago's Requirement Starts

Starting in 2022, Chicagoans will have to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination to get into indoor public places, and Apple has an easy way to access the record on the iPhone.

Beginning Jan. 3, anyone age 5 and older will be required to show proof of full vaccination to dine inside or visit gyms or entertainment venues where food and drinks are being served, joining other big cities like New York and Los Angeles in adding the requirement.

Apple's new iOS 15.1 operating system allows users to add "verifiable" COVID vaccination information in the Wallet app, making it easier to provide proof of vaccination as opposed to carrying a physical card.

Here's how to do it.

Here's Where Vaccine Proof Will Be Required in Chicago Next Year

Beginning Jan. 3, Chicago will require proof of vaccination for many indoor public spaces as the city works to combat what officials are calling "the biggest COVID surge that we have seen since before vaccines were available."

Here are the places where vaccine proof will be required - and where it won't.

Swollen Lymph Nodes After COVID Booster Shot? Here's What Experts Say That Means

Have you experienced a swollen lymph node in the arm where you received your COVID vaccine or booster shot?

You're not alone.

In fact, while you may not have experienced it with your initial doses of the vaccine, there's still a chance you could see it following a booster shot.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the vaccine side effect is actually more common with booster shots or additional doses than it is with initial doses of the COVID vaccines.

But the CDC said it is not a side effect to worry about.

Here's why.

Booster Shots and Omicron: Is Moderna or Pfizer Performing Better? Here's the Data So Far

Both Moderna and Pfizer have released early data showing the effectiveness of their vaccines and booster doses as the new omicron variant begins to take hold and as COVID cases rise across the U.S.

But is one performing better than the other?

Here's what we know so far.

Omicron Severity, Symptoms, Risk of Breakthrough Cases: What We Know So Far

Experts had been saying that more information on the omicron variant was expected in the weeks following its detection.

Now, about a month since the new COVID variant was identified in South Africa and two weeks since it was first recorded in the U.S., what do we know?

Chicago's top doctor said that while we are still learning about the variant and research continues to develop, an early look at the latest data has led to some findings so far.

Here's a breakdown of what we know.

Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady on Tuesday gave a breakdown on which COVID-19 variant is currently leading the surge in the Midwest. While 99.9% of the COVID cases are of delta variant as of now, she predicted that the omicron variant will soon spread quickly based on the studies from other countries.

CDC Guidelines for COVID Exposure: Timeline, Quarantine, Contagious Period

What should you do if you or someone you have been in close contact with tests positive for coronavirus? How long are you contagious, what are the quarantine guidelines and when can you see people again?

Here's a look at the guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on what to do if you test positive or believe you were exposed to someone who has.

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