coronavirus illinois

Illinois Coronavirus Updates: Free COVID Test Kits, Protection Ahead of Holidays

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

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U.S. households can now get free COVID tests delivered right to their doors, curtsey of the government. So, how do you place your order?

With three respiratory viruses floating around, driving hospitalizations, what can you do to protect yourself ahead of the holidays?

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

You Can Get Free COVID Tests From the Government. Here's How

Once again, U.S. residents can get free COVID tests delivered right to their homes.

The Biden Administration announced Dec. 15 that it's offering households four rapid virus tests through covidtests.gov, so how can you get yours?

Read more here.

White House's Covid Coordinator Urges People to Get Vaccinated Ahead of Holidays

As Covid and flu hospitalizations have climbed in the weeks since Thanksgiving, White House's Covid-19 coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha said families will be safer at upcoming holiday gatherings if they get their updated vaccines.

This year, hospitals are facing the simultaneous threat of Covid, flu and RSV for the first time. Circulation of flu and RSV was very low during the pandemic due to widespread masking and social distancing implemented in response to Covid, but as most people return to normal life, all three viruses are circulating widely.

Read more here.

What Are ‘Never-Coviders' and How Can They Help Us End the Pandemic?

At this point in the pandemic -- which is weeks away from completing a third year -- most people have caught COVID-19 despite best efforts to mask up, stay socially distant and inoculate against the virus.

Whether the virus caught up to you in the early days of the pandemic, last winter during the high-contagious omicron variant wave, or anywhere in between, it's hard to find anyone who hasn't come down with COVID-19. But that does not mean there aren't people out there who have yet to test positive.

There's a new classification for some of those lucky few who have dodged the virus: "never-coviders."

Read more here.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot Tests Positive for COVID-19

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has tested positive for COVID-19, she announced Friday.

“I am thankfully not experiencing symptoms, which I attribute to being vaccinated and fully boosted," Lightfoot said in a statement.

Lightfoot added she will follow CDC guidelines for isolation and work from home.

"This is a reminder to get vaccinated and boosted this holiday season to keep you and your loved ones healthy and safe," Lightfoot said.

Masks Recommended in Over 40 Illinois Counties With ‘High' COVID Community Alert Level

Masks are encouraged in 43 out of Illinois' 102 counties that have been raised to "high" COVID-19 community level status as a result of an uptick in weekly metrics, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The latest CDC data showed a total of 86 counties are at an elevated status of either "medium" or "high." In all, 43 counties are listed at "high" status compared to 29 from the week prior, metrics showed. An additional 43 are deemed in the "medium" category, marking a slight decline from 45 counties a week earlier.

Read more here.

You Can Now Get Both a Flu and COVID Test at Walgreens. Here's How

As highly-transmissible respiratory illnesses circulate, Walgreens announced rapid flu testing is available now alongside COVID testing at select pharmacies.

The move is intended to curb the spread of viruses by helping communities identify and manage their ailments as the holiday season pans out, the pharmaceutical company said Friday in a press release.

Read more here.

86 Illinois Counties at Elevated Community Level of COVID-19 as CDC Metrics Report Rise in Cases

Illinois health officials reported a total of 23,334 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19, including 82 deaths, since Dec. 9. The metrics are up from the week prior, when officials said the state saw 21,404 new and confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 56 deaths.

According to CDC data, 86 state counties stand at an elevated community level of the virus. The number of counties are split evenly among elevated statuses, with 43 at "high" and 43 at "medium."

Read more here.

2 Chicago-Area Counties Reach High COVID Alert Level, Masks Recommended

Two Chicago-area counties have reached a "high" COVID alert level from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, joining dozens of other counties across the state in reaching the highest community level, which dictates that masks are now recommended for all in public indoor spaces.

DeKalb and Kankakee counties reached the designation in this week's update from the CDC. It follows what officials were expecting would be a post-Thanksgiving rise in transmission for the virus.

Read more here.

How to Get New Free COVID Tests From the Government and When

Home across the U.S. will once again be able to get free COVID test kits from the government this winter.

After a three-month hiatus, the Biden Administration is making four rapid virus tests available through covidtests.gov starting Thursday.

Here's what to know about the program and how to order your tests.

After Post-Thanksgiving Bump, COVID Metrics Remain Steady in Illinois, Data Suggests

The state of Illinois saw increases in both COVID cases and hospitalizations in the days after the Thanksgiving holiday, but those numbers have flattened considerably in recent days.

According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, the state is currently averaging 3,232 cases of the virus per day. As of Wednesday, Illinois has reported 1,667 individuals that are hospitalized due to COVID-19 symptoms.

While both of those numbers are higher than they were in early November, they represent a flattening in metrics in recent days.

Read more here.

Hospitalizations Signal Rising COVID-19 Risk for US Seniors

Coronavirus-related hospital admissions are climbing again in the United States, with older adults a growing share of U.S. deaths and less than half of nursing home residents up to date on COVID-19 vaccinations.

These alarming signs portend a difficult winter for seniors.

One troubling indicator for seniors: Hospitalizations for people with COVID-19 rose by more than 30% in two weeks. Much of the increase is driven by older people and those with existing health problems, said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The numbers include everyone testing positive, no matter why they are admitted.

Read more here.

There's a Concerning Amount of COVID in Chicago Wastewater Right Now. Here's What That Could Signal

As COVID-19 cases continue to spike across Illinois, a concerning sign in Chicago shows that the increase is likely to continue in the coming weeks.

According to Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady, elevated levels of COVID-19 have been detected in the city's wastewater in recent weeks.

"Our wastewater sampling is actually at a high concern and that is consistent with what we're seeing across the country," Arwady said earlier this week, reflecting on the rise in cases that has affected much of the U.S.

Read more here.

Should You Wear a Mask Right Now? Here's What Experts Suggest and What Chicago's Top Doc is Doing

COVID cases have risen dramatically in parts of the country since Thanksgiving, leading some health agencies to recommend that people wear face masks once again.

Such recommendations are in place in approximately 9% of the country, which is currently listed at "high" COVID-19 community level status, according to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Because of increases in metrics such as case numbers and hospitalizations, masks are recommended in those areas.

Read more here.

Masks Recommended in 29 Illinois Counties With ‘High' COVID Community Level Status

Masks are encouraged in 29 out of Illinois' 102 counties that have been raised to "high" COVID-19 community level status as a result of an uptick in weekly metrics, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The latest CDC data showed a total of 74 counties, which accounts for nearly 73% of Illinois, are at an elevated status of either "medium" or "high." In all, 29 counties are listed at "high" status compared to 12 from the week prior, data showed. Forty five are deemed in the "medium" category, marking a decline from 51 counties a week earlier.

Read more here.

74 Illinois Counties at Elevated Community Level of COVID-19 as Cases Jump Across the State

COVID-19 cases have significantly risen across Illinois within the past week, with 74 counties now at an elevated community level of the virus. Twenty-nine of the 74 counties are now at a "high" community level of COVID-19, up from 12 last week, according to CDC data.

All counties in the Chicago metropolitan area are now at a "medium" COVID-19 community level, where masks are recommended for those who are immunocompromised or at high risk for severe disease. Overall, 45 Illinois counties are at that same level.

Read more here.

NBC Chicago/Associated Press
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