coronavirus illinois

Illinois Coronavirus Updates: Mask Mandate Citations, Travel Advisory Updated

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Businesses in Chicago are being cited as the city enforces an indoor mask mandate now in effect across the state.

Meanwhile, some concerned Chicago Public Schools parents say they want a remote learning waiver for students.

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

Arwady Recommends Parents With Unvaccinated Kids Avoid Labor Day Weekend Travel

As Chicago changes its recommendations for unvaccinated travelers as part of its travel advisory, what will parents need to do if they have unvaccinated children?

Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said ultimately the decision will be left to parents and schools, but she urged those with unvaccinated kids to avoid traveling for the long Labor Day weekend.

"It is higher risk," she said. "I would not recommend traveling, right, if you've got unvaccinated children, and particularly younger children. And the whole country is doing really badly from a COVID perspective right now so... I can tell you my own sister, you know, they have three young children who are too young to be vaccinated. They were hoping to go to Michigan for Labor Day, they're not going in the context of it now being an orange state and their kids not being able to be vaccinated. I know that's hard for people but we're just trying to avoid infection and I think especially when we're back in school the bar is a little higher in terms of trying to think about limiting that risk as much as possible."

Read more here.

Nearly 100 Quarantined After COVID 'Outbreak' Reported at Sycamore School, Supt. Says

Nearly 100 students are in quarantine after at least 17 tested positive for coronavirus in a suburban school district, officials said.

According to Sycamore Community School District 427, 97 students were quarantine as of Friday, 54 of which had close contact with a positive case.

The district, which has roughly 3,480 students overall, reported 17 positive cases at that time.

"A large portion of those quarantines were due to what the local [health department] identified as an 'outbreak' at our Middle School," Supt. Steve Wilder told NBC 5 in an emailed statement.

No positive cases or quarantines are currently reported in staff, according to the district's COVID dashboard.

Read more here.

Chicago Updates Travel Advisory Recommendations for Unvaccinated Travelers

Chicago has updated its travel advisory recommendations for unvaccinated travelers Tuesday, adding additional testing guidelines for those going to or coming from higher-risk locations.

Citing guidance from the U.S. Centers for the Disease Control and Prevention, the Chicago Department of Public Health said it now recommends additional testing for unvaccinated individuals.

The latest guidance comes just ahead of the long Labor Day weekend.

Here's a look at the updated recommendations.

Every US State Except 1 Now on Chicago Travel Advisory, Top Doctor Announces

Nearly every U.S. state, with the exception of one, is now on Chicago's travel advisory, the city's top doctor announced Tuesday, adding changes to the policy for travelers visiting "high-risk" locations.

Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said every state except Vermont is now on the city's list recommending unvaccinated travelers test negative for COVID-19 or quarantine upon arrival.

"So unfortunately COVID is surging across the entire United States," Arwady said. "The average right now is at 39 cases per 100,000 per day. We're doing much better than that here in Chicago, but nevertheless the news remains not good from a COVID perspective at the national level."

Read more here.

Watch Live: Chicago's Top Doctor to Give COVID Update at 1 p.m.

Chicago's top doctor is set to deliver a COVID-19 update for the city Tuesday afternoon.

Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady is scheduled to "provide an update on COVID-19 case data and vaccinations and the city’s response to the pandemic," including an update to the city's travel advisory.

She is also expected to announce the launch of a new website with mental health resources and support.

The announcement is slated for 1 p.m. Tuesday and can be watched live here.

Chicago Travel Advisory Set for an Update Tuesday

Chicago is set to update its travel advisory Tuesday, announcing which states, if any, will be added to or removed from its list recommending that unvaccinated travelers test negative for COVID-19 or quarantine upon arrival.

Last week, the city added four states to that list, including Maryland, South Dakota, Nebraska and Colorado.

The addition brought the total number of states on the advisory to 43 states, along with two territories.

The District of Columbia was removed after falling below the threshold, city officials said.

See the latest on the Chicago Travel Advisory.

Chicago Businesses Cited Over Mask Mandate, City Says

Chicago has been enforcing its indoor mask mandate and a number of businesses have been cited in recent days for failing to comply, the city said.

According to Chicago Mayor Lori Lighftoot's office, the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) issued 16 "notices to correct" and 20 citations to businesses from Aug. 20 through Aug. 29. 

The city's new indoor mask mandate took effect on Aug. 20. A similar mandate for the entire state began Monday.

"As cases continue to rise in Chicago, BACP is putting all businesses on high alert and letting them know that we will be strictly enforcing the City of Chicago mask mandate," the mayor's office said in a release.

Some CPS Parents Push to Obtain Remote Learning Waiver

Monday, the first day of classes for Chicago Public Schools students, was especially nerve-racking for Christine Hernandez, whose 13-year-old son, Christopher, is on the Autism spectrum and goes to a sensory school on the city's North Side.

Hernandez said she hoped her son could attend school virtually because of her ongoing health issues and rising COVID-19 cases spurred by the delta variant.

"It is scary having my son go in person knowing he could bring something home that could be deadly to me," the mother said, noting she is in kidney failure and awaiting a transplant.

Hernandez said she applied for CPS' remote learning option, the Virtual Academy, but was denied. And she wasn't alone.

CPS said 758 people applied for the Virtual Academy, but 481 students were admitted.

Read more here.

Cook County Judge Rescinds Ruling Stopping Unvaccinated Mom From Seeing Son

A Cook County judge who barred a divorced mother from seeing her 11-year-old son because she hasn't been vaccinated against COVID-19 rescinded the original ruling Monday, restoring the mother's parental rights.

Rebecca Firlit's case became the subject of national attention earlier this month after Cook County Judge James Shapiro asked the 39-year-old mother if she was vaccinated during an online child support hearing.

When she said no, the judge withdrew her rights to see the boy until she gets vaccinated. The judge, not Firlit's ex-husband, raised the issue during the Aug. 10 hearing.

Read more here.

Jesse Jackson in Rehab Facility, Wife Moved From ICU as COVID Battle Continues

Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. and his wife, Jacqueline, were both said to have been making progress regarding their health approximately one week after being hospitalized for COVID-19, according to a statement from family.

Jacqueline Jackson, 77, remains hospitalized as of Monday, but was moved out of the intensive care unit at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and into a "regular hospital room" where she continues to receive oxygen.

Jacqueline Jackson has not been vaccinated, longtime family spokesman Frank Watkins previously said. He declined to elaborate.

Read more here.

Proof, Testing, Religious Exemptions: What to Know About COVID Vaccine Mandates

With both Illinois and Chicago mandating COVID vaccines for certain groups, what are the requirements and what do you need to know?

Here's a breakdown of what we know so far.

Illinois Mask Mandate: New Indoor Mask Requirements Take Effect Monday

Illinois' reinstated mask mandate takes effect Monday, requiring residents over the age of 2 to wear face coverings in indoor settings.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker re-issued the mask mandate for the state Thursday, saying the state is "running out of time as our hospitals run out of beds."

The new indoor mask guidelines, similar to mandates already handed down in Cook County and Chicago, will require facial coverings in indoor settings, regardless of COVID vaccination status.

"Illinois will join several other states that have reinstituted statewide indoor mask requirements, regardless of vaccination status, effective on Monday," Pritzker said in his announcement. "Masks work. Period."

He noted that while face coverings are not required outdoors, "masks are strongly encouraged in crowded outdoor settings like festivals and concerts as well as for activities that require close contact with people who are not vaccinated."

Full guidance on Illinois' indoor mask mandate.

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