coronavirus illinois

Illinois Coronavirus Updates: School COVID Concerns, Dr. Ezike to Speak

NBC Universal, Inc.

Rising COVID cases across Illinois are sparking concerns and changes for many residents as schools close early for winter break and rising hospitalizations create challenges for residents in one state health care region.

This comes as the state sets a single-day high for COVID cases so far this year and as new omicron variant cases are detected.

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

At-Home COVID Tests: What to Know About Negative Results

Experts are encouraging the use of at-home COVID tests for holiday gatherings this year with COVID cases rising across the state and country, but what happens if you get a false negative?

Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady recently advised using the tests for the holidays as another tool to prevent spread.

While the most accurate form of COVID testing is a PCR test, no at-home tests currently authorized offer this method and instead rely on antigen testing.

Arwady said that while PCR tests may detect COVID earlier because they are more sensitive, at-home antigen tests are similar to a pregnancy test in that "they're not looking for the genetic material of the virus itself, they're just looking for, you know, for a protein."

Home tests will miss some infections and in rare cases mistakenly indicate an infection. One popular test misses around 15 out of 100 infections — these are called “false negatives” — and gives a false positive result in about 1 in 100 people who aren’t infected.

Read more here.

Cook County Health Officials Recommend New Mitigations as Suspected Omicron Cases Rise

Cook County health officials warned Friday that "suspected cases of the omicron variant are rising... and are likely to escalate quickly," prompting them to issue new mitigation recommendations in Chicago's suburbs.

The county said that while the delta variant remains the prominent variant, case counts, case rates, test positivity, hospitalizations and deaths "are all increasing."

"CCDPH is issuing Increased mitigation practices for individuals and businesses," the county health department said in a release. "CCDPH urges suburban Cook County residents to follow them to slow the spread of COVID-19. We must continue to work together to keep each other healthy and to avoid overwhelming the healthcare system."

Now, with the holidays approaching, area health officials are urging the public and businesses to follow these mitigations.

Illinois' Top Doc: 'This is Setting Up to Be a Very Deadly COVID Christmas and New Years'

Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike warned Friday that "this is setting up to be a very deadly COVID Christmas and New Years" as she delivered an address about rising metrics in one state health care region.

"Hospital bed availability has reached a critically low level, demand on resources is high and the wait times in local emergency departments are very long," Ezike said in her address to Region 1, which encompasses several counties surrounding the Rockford area.

Read more here.

Is the Omicron Variant Less Severe Than Delta? Here's What Experts Are Saying

Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said Tuesday there is increased confidence that omicron "is likely to spread quickly" and even faster than the delta variant, which is behind the latest surge in the U.S., but how severe are those cases becoming?

Experts had said that in the week's following the variant's initial detection more would be learned about how it spreads and how severe it could be. Health officials have cautioned that while initial cases have appeared mild, the variant could still be dangerous to communities and severe cases are still possible.

Here's a full breakdown.

Coronavirus in Illinois: 59,312 New Cases, 316 Deaths as Metrics Rise in Last Week

Illinois health officials reported 59,312 new COVID-19 cases over the past week, along with 316 additional deaths and over 467,000 new vaccine doses administered.

The new cases and deaths mark a continued increase over the last several weeks.

In all, 1,944,056 cases of coronavirus have been reported in the state since the pandemic began, according to the latest data from the Illinois Department of Public Health. The additional deaths reported over the past five days bring the state to 27,117 confirmed COVID fatalities.

Read more here.

Illinois Extends Driver's License and ID Card Expiration Dates For Final Time

Expiration dates for Illinois driver’s licenses and ID cards have been extended an additional three months, Secretary of State Jesse White announced Friday.

The extension moves the deadline for driver's licenses and ID cards from Jan. 1, 2022, to March 31, 2022. White's office noted that the extension does not apply to commercial driver’s licenses (CDL) and CDL learner’s permits.

This will be the final extension, White said.

Read more here.

Illinois' Top Doctor to Address Rising COVID Cases in Region 1

NOTE: Watch the press conference live here beginning at 9:30 a.m.

Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike will address a rise in COVID cases in one particular health care region Friday.

Ezike is scheduled to speak in a virtual press conference alongside local representatives beginning at 9:30 a.m. "to discuss the impact of COVID-19 on the Northern Illinois Rockford Region," also known as Region 1.

The region serves several northern Illinois counties, including Boone, Carroll, DeKalb, Jo Daviess, Lee, Ogle, Stephenson, Whiteside, and Winnebago Counties.

Read more here.

COVID Concerns Spark Changes for Several Schools Ahead of Winter Break

Many schools are counting down the days before winter break, but for some, the break started early as rising COVID cases spark concerns across the Chicago area.

The recent surge has many districts scrambling to find ways to keep kids and staff safe.

Chicago's Bernard Zell Anshe Emet Day School and the Latin School of Chicago canceled classes Friday due to a number of staff and students testing positive.

Chicago Public Schools will distribute about 150,000 take-home COVID-19 test kits Friday to 309 schools in communities hit hard by the pandemic, the district announced.

Evanston Township High School canceled all events and activities in the lead-up to the Christmas holiday, officials announced Thursday, noting an increase in COVID cases among students and staff.

Read more here.

COVID by the Numbers: Illinois Sets Single-Day High for New Coronavirus Cases in 2021

The state of Illinois reported nearly 12,000 new cases of coronavirus in the last 24 hours, the largest single-day increase in new cases in more than a year.

According to the latest figures from the Illinois Department of Public Health, the state recorded 11,858 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in the last day.

That number is the largest the state has seen in a single day since Dec. 1, 2020, when 12,542 new cases were reported to state health agencies.

The previous high watermark for 2021 had been set just two weeks ago, when 11,524 new cases were reported on Dec. 2.

Read more here.

All Bears Coordinators Enter COVID-19 Protocols

The current COVID-19 outbreak at Halas Hall has reached some of the Bears’ top coaches. Matt Nagy announced on Thursday that offensive coordinator Bill Lazor, defensive coordinator Sean Desai and special teams coordinator Chris Tabor have all entered COVID-19 protocols.

As a result, each coordinator will have to participate in team meetings via zoom. In addition, the Bears will not have live practices on Thursday. They’ll only have walkthroughs, when they typically start the day with walkthroughs and then have live reps in the afternoon. It will be on the team’s position coaches and assistant coaches to run those walkthroughs with the coordinators not able to come into Halas Hall.

Read more here.

Which Vaccine is Best for You? What to Know as Illinois Continues to See COVID Surge

As Illinois continues to see surges in COVID cases and hospitalizations across the state, how can the vaccine protect you and which is best?

A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention panel recommended Thursday that most Americans should be given the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines instead of the Johnson & Johnson shot, which can cause rare but serious blood clots.

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

Omicron Vaccine Efficacy: What Early Data Shows About New Variant and COVID Vaccines

While plenty remains to be seen about the new omicron variant and how it will affect the coronavirus pandemic, early studies are showing signs of how current COVID vaccines and booster shots perform against the strain.

Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said Tuesday there is increased confidence that omicron "is likely to spread quickly" and even faster than the delta variant, which is behind the latest surge in the U.S., but that vaccines continue to offer at least some protection.

Read more here.

Chicago Schools Giving COVID Test Kits to Hard-Hit Areas

The Chicago Public Schools will distribute about 150,000 take-home COVID-19 test kits Friday to 309 schools in communities hit hard by the pandemic, the district announced.

“In Chicago, we are in a wicked post-Thanksgiving COVID surge — 929 daily cases on average here in the city of Chicago. As the city goes, so goes CPS,” Dr. Kenneth Fox, CPS’ chief health officer, said at Wednesday’s monthly Chicago Board of Education meeting. “When cases surge in the city, so, too, do they surge at CPS.”

The district reported its highest weekly COVID-19 case count last week: 764 students and 246 adults. The district also reported its highest daily case count on Monday: 223 students and 59 adults. Last month CPS was recording about 300 to 400 total cases a week, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Read more here.

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.

What We Know About Suburban Cook County's Omicron COVID Case

The first confirmed omicron variant case in suburban Cook County has been reported, but what do we know about the person's symptoms and how they were exposed?

Here's a look at what officials said we know so far about the case.

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.

Accuracy of At-Home COVID Tests and More: What to Know for Holiday Gatherings

As many prepare for holiday gatherings, demand for testing has increased, but for those using at-home testing methods, how accurate are they and should you rely on them?

There are a number of at-home options now available and Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady recently advised using them ahead of holiday gatherings.

Here's what you should know.

Contact Us