coronavirus illinois

Illinois Coronavirus Updates: Reinfection Rates, Masking Guidelines, COVID v. Allergies

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

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Reinfection rates are climbing with the new, highly contagious omicron subvariant BA.5, but just how soon can you get COVID again after an infection?

We asked experts to weigh in.

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

COVID or Allergies? Here's the Difference in Symptoms as ‘High' Allergy Counts Reported in Chicago

With allergy counts rising in the middle of summer and new COVID-19 variants taking over, more people are asking whether their cough and runny nose are allergies or the virus.

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

Meanwhile, Loyola Medicine's Allergy Count is updated each weekday morning during allergy season by allergist Dr. Rachna Shah, according to the Twitter account.

Read more here.

Will Mask Mandates Return Amid Increasing COVID Cases? Chicago's Top Doctor Weighs In

As the city of Chicago and the state of Illinois see some upward movement in new COVID cases, health officials say they are not looking to reinstitute mitigations, including mask mandates, at this time.  

On Thursday, Illinois reported its single-highest daily total of new COVID cases since late May, with 6,636 new probable and confirmed cases over the last 24 hours.

Read more here.

How Soon Can You Get COVID Again? Cases Reported Within 1 Month Amid BA.5 Spread, Experts Say

With the BA.5 omicron subvariant leading to a rise in reinfections, even for those who may have already had omicron, many are wondering how quickly they could get COVID again following an infection.

While many experts say the exact timing remains unclear and dependent on each individual, cases are being reported of reinfections in as early as one month.

Read more here.

How Long Can You Test Positive for COVID? BA.5 Making Some Last Longer, Top Doc Says

If you've tested positive for COVID and have completed your isolation but are still testing positive, you're likely not alone. How long could your results stay positive? Turns out, the ultra-contagious BA.5 omicron subvariant could be making people stay positive longer, according to Chicago's top doctor.

"I wouldn't say the incubation period is shorter... it's been getting shorter compared to what the original was, but we are seeing people often have just upper respiratory symptoms or having a cold, they're having sore throat sometimes, they're having fever or not seeing a lot of that severe illness - especially in people who are up to date with vaccine because the secondary part of your immune system kicks in and helps - but we're seeing people...they can stay positive for a little longer," Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said during a Facebook Live Tuesday.

Read more here.

Will CDC Quarantine COVID Guidelines Change Due to BA.5? Here's What Chicago's Top Doc Says

As a new, more contagious omicron subvariant continues to spread in the United States, some residents are undoubtedly wondering whether federal guidance has changed if they test positive for COVID-19.

Those questions come as Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance on quarantine and isolation has remained unchanged since March.

Read more here.

Gov. Pritzker Prescribed Paxlovid After COVID Diagnosis: Here's More Info on the Treatment

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s office announced Tuesday that he has tested positive for COVID-19 after several close contacts during a recent trip to Florida.

Pritzker, who received the Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine and has received two booster shots, is dealing with mild symptoms, according to his office, and is following CDC guidelines by working from home.

Read more here.

CDC Clears Novavax COVID-19 Vaccine for Adults, Says Shots Will Be Available in the Coming Weeks

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday signed off on Novavax's two-dose COVID-19 vaccine as a primary series for adults, offering people who are unvaccinated a choice to receive a shot based on conventional technology in use for more than 30 years.

The CDC's committee of independent advisors voted unanimously to recommend the vaccine for people ages 18 and older after reviewing the shots' safety and effectiveness during an hours-long public meeting Tuesday. CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky backed the recommendation later in the evening, the final step in the U.S. authorization process.

Read more here.

More-Contagious BA.5 Omicron Variant Makes Up Nearly 80% of COVID Cases: CDC

A COVID subvariant that has shown an ability to better evade a patient’s immunity against the virus is now responsible for nearly 80% of cases reported in the United States this week, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

According to the latest “Nowcast’ released by the CDC on Tuesday, the BA.5 omicron subvariant is now estimated to be responsible for 77.9% of COVID cases in the United States.

Read more here.

How Soon Could You Get COVID Again? How BA.5 is Changing That Answer

The question over natural immunity from COVID infection has come with varying answers since the pandemic began, but new developments involving extra-contagious omicron subvariants could once again mark a shift in guidance.

The question over how protected someone is following a COVID infection has come with varying answers since the pandemic began, but as super contagious omicron subvariants dominate cases across the U.S., they could mark yet another change.

Chicago's top doctor noted that while the omicron variant itself marked a distinct shift in reinfections, evading natural immunity from infections with previous strains, BA.5 has similarly evaded immunity from even other omicron infections.

Read more here.

Is COVID's Incubation Period Changing With BA.5 Subvariant? Chicago's Top Doctor Explains

With the most contagious version of coronavirus yet spreading across the country, what does that mean for COVID's incubation period and is it changing?

According to Chicago's top doctor, while much is still unfolding surrounding the omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5, she doesn't believe the incubation period is changing, but rather some people are staying positive for longer.

Read more here.

Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker Tests Positive for COVID

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker has tested positive for COVID, his office announced Tuesday.

"After being notified of several close contacts testing positive for COVID-19, Gov. Pritzker received a positive test result during his routine COVID testing regimen," a statement from his office read.

Officials said Pritzker, who is fully vaccinated and double boosted, is experiencing "mild symptoms" and was prescribed the anti-viral medication Paxlovid.

Read more here.

COVID Antiviral Paxlovid FAQ's: How It Works, Its Effectiveness, Who's Eligible, and More

While much of the focus in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic was on creating vaccines to help prevent serious illness and infection, companies have also worked to develop medications that can help at-risk populations to avoid hospitalization or even death from the virus.

The drug that has seen the most success since it was authorized on an emergency basis by the CDC has been Pfizer’s Paxlovid treatment, which functions in a similar fashion to the popular antiviral drug Tamiflu.

So how does Paxlovid work? How soon do you need to take it? Who’s even eligible to have it prescribed?

Here’s what we know about the treatment.

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.

BA.4, BA.5 and More: Latest Look at Symptoms and What to Expect

With new COVID variants and subvariants behind rising cases in Illinois and other parts of the country, many are wondering if symptoms are changing as more begin to experience them.

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

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.

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.

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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