coronavirus illinois

Illinois Coronavirus Updates: Quarantine Period, COVID Warnings, Long COVID

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

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With cases rising across Illinois, how long should you quarantine and which symptoms should you watch for?

With several Chicago-area counties returning to a "high" alert level, many are questioning.

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

What is Long COVID and What Are the Symptoms?

For some who test positive for COVID, symptoms can last much longer as part of a condition known as "long COVID."

Newer variants, including the highly contagious BA.4 and BA.5 omicron subvariants currently making up a majority of cases in the Midwest, are leading to an in increase in those experiencing symptoms, according to Chicago's top doctor.

Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said that while symptoms remain similar to previous cases, there is one noticeable shift.

Read more here.

Incubation Period For COVID: How Long Should You Quarantine With Virus?

As COVID-19 cases continue to spread across the Chicago area over the last several weeks, there may be lingering questions over the quarantine period and how long patients are contagious.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 50 Illinois counties are now rated at "high" community level for COVID, including many of the counties around the Chicago metropolitan area. An additional 44 counties throughout the state are now rated at "medium community level.

Read more here.

How Long Can You Test Positive for COVID After Recovering From Virus?

Most people who contract COVID-19 likely won't experience symptoms for more than two weeks at most, but could test positive months following infection.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, some people who contract COVID-19 can have detectable virus for up to three months, but that doesn't mean they are contagious.

When it comes to testing, the PCR tests are more likely to continue picking up the virus following infection.

Read more here.

U of I Researchers Seek Patients for ‘Long COVID' Study: Here's Who is Eligible

Researchers at the University of Illinois College of Medicine are collaborating on a landmark study that will look into the causes of so-called “long COVID,” as well as ways to potentially prevent and treat the illness.

According to a press release by the U of I’s campus in Peoria, the work will pair up scientists from the school’s Peoria and Chicago campuses, with $22 million in funding from the National Institutes of Health to back the project.

Read more here.

Several Chicago-Area Counties Hit ‘High' COVID Transmission Levels Amid Statewide Rise in Cases

Nearly every county in Illinois is seeing elevated numbers of COVID cases in recent weeks, with public health officials advising residents in some communities to resume wearing masks while in indoor spaces as the virus spreads.

The new wave of cases has largely been fueled by new variants of omicron that have shown a propensity for evading immunity provided by vaccines or previous infections.

As a result, a “slow but steady” increase in the number of cases has been observed in the state.

Read more here.

Coronavirus in Illinois: 33K New Cases, 48 Deaths in Last Week; 50 Counties Now at High Alert Level

Illinois health officials reported 33,066 new coronavirus cases over the past week, along with 59 additional deaths, marking slight increases in both metrics from seven days prior as 50 counties across the state are at a "high" community level of COVID-19.

The previous week, the state reported 27,543 new cases, 48 deaths and again 28 counties at "high" community level.

The week before that, the state reported 28,216 new cases and 74 deaths.

Read more here.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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