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Illinois Coronavirus Updates: School COVID Outbreaks, Time Between Vaccines

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Some Chicago-area schools are reporting an increase in positive COVID-19 cases as many resume in-person learning, but what's behind the spike?

Plus, for many who are now scheduling two-dose vaccine appointments, what should you know about your second dose?

Here are the latest updates on the coronavirus pandemic across Illinois today:

Coronavirus in Illinois: 2,765 New COVID Cases, 28 Deaths, 140K Vaccinations

Illinois health officials reported 2,765 new confirmed and probable coronavirus cases and 28 additional deaths in the last day, along with over 140,000 vaccinations administered.

The newly reported coronavirus cases Wednesday bring the state total to of 1,309,552 cases since the pandemic began. The 28 additional deaths rose the total death toll to 21,722, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.

In the last 24 hours, 81,133 coronavirus test specimens were returned to state laboratories, with more than 21.9 million now conducted during the pandemic.

Read more here.

More Than 700 Naperville Students Quarantined Last Week, Data Shows

More than 700 students in a Naperville school district were quarantined last week, data from the district showed Wednesday.

According to Naperville Community Unit School District 203's COVID dashboard, 707 students - including 424 high schoolers, 87 junior high students and 196 elementary school kids - along with two staff members were under quarantine the week of April 12.

The school noted that reasons for quarantine can include being a close contact of someone who tested positive for COVID-19 either at school or outside of school, having a household member who is a close contact, quarantining due to travel guidelines or because a family is choosing not to send a student to school.

Read more here.

Cook County Offering Walk-Ins at Tinley Park, Matteson Mass Vaccination Sites

Cook County is now offering walk-in availability for COVID vaccines at its Tinley Park and Matteson sites as part of a new pilot program aimed at combating a "plateau in demand," the county's health department announced Wednesday.

Anyone interested in getting a vaccine who doesn't already have an appointment will be allowed to register onsite Wednesday through Saturday at the two mass vaccination locations, the department said.

The sites will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday for walk-ins and those with appointments.

Details here.

COVID-19 Cases at Suburban Chicago School Send 147 Students to Quarantine

Health officials are seeing an uptick in positive COVID-19 cases as Chicago-area high schools resume in-person learning, but the origin of the cases varies by school.

There are currently 12 active cases at John Hersey High School in Arlington Heights, according to school officials. They said 147 students are in quarantine.

"Everybody that’s reported positive infections has told us they were with groups of kids without masks on in basements or in eating places, like a sandwich shop or something like that," said principal Gordie Sisson.

Indiana Reaches Higher-Risk Level on Chicago's Travel Order, But It's Not Listed Yet

Indiana will soon be labeled a higher-risk state on Chicago's travel order, requiring a quarantine or pre-arrival negative test for unvaccinated travelers, if the state's case rate doesn't decline soon.

Chicago's health department noted that Indiana is above the threshold to move to the "orange tier" of the travel order, but will remain in the yellow tier "for another cycle because it’s close to the cut-off and cases are trending in the right direction."

"If case numbers for Indiana do not drop below the threshold they will be added to the orange tier in two weeks," Chicago's Department of Public Health said.

Oswego East HS Goes to All-Remote Learning After at Least 15 COVID Cases Confirmed

More than a dozen COVID-19 cases have been reported at a suburban high school, with more than 300 students currently excluded from in-person attendance due to those reported cases.

According to officials at Oswego East High School, a total of 15 positive cases have been reported among the student body at the school. More than 300 students will be excluded from in-person learning as a result of those tests, and as a result the school is moving to all-remote learning from April 22 to May 1.

Read more here.

Time Between COVID Vaccines, Do You Need Both? What to Know About Your 2nd Shot

Many who previously had one-shot Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine appointments are now being given the Pfizer or Moderna two-shot vaccines, leading to plenty of questions about second doses.

How much time should you wait between the first and second vaccine dose? What are the side effects and when are you likely going to experience them? When are you fully vaccinated?

Here's a look at what you should know.

Coronavirus in Illinois: 2,587 New COVID Cases, 9 Deaths, 81K Vaccinations

Illinois health officials reported 2,587 new confirmed and probable coronavirus cases and nine additional deaths in the last day, along with nearly 82,000 vaccinations administered.

The newly reported coronavirus cases Tuesday bring the state total to of 1,306,787 cases since the pandemic began. The nine additional deaths rose the total death toll to 21,694, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.

In the last 24 hours, 47,506 coronavirus test specimens were returned to state laboratories, with more than 21.7 million now conducted during the pandemic.

Read more here.

Lori Lightfoot Expects Fans for Bulls, Blackhawks by Season's End

In a press conference Tuesday morning, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot expressed optimism that fans will return to the United Center for Bulls and Blackhawks games by the end of each team's 2020-21 seasons.

"We're talking to both the Bulls and the Blackhawks. I think they've got very solid plans," Lightfoot said. "But those plans were rolled out at a time when we were on the upswing on the surge. As Dr. (Allison Arwady) already said and the numbers bear out, we feel like we might be plateauing and even -- dare to dream -- going down.

"Going down is the right time to have that conversation, so we'll continue with that. And I expect before season's end that there will be fans in the United Center."

Read more here.

Chicago Travel Order: 26 States Now Higher Risk, Testing Requirements Change

Chicago updated its emergency travel order Tuesday, detailing where states currently stand and determining the guidelines on whether travelers must quarantine or test negative for COVID-19 prior to their arrival in the city.

The order now includes 26 states as well as Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia under an "orange tier," which requires a quarantine or pre-arrival negative test before coming to Chicago. The lesser "yellow tier" includes 23. Which tier states fall into depends on case rate adjusted for population.

Also, beginning this week, those who travel from an orange list state and are not able to get a test before arriving in Chicago can use an airport testing site or another testing site upon arrival, officials said, adding that those who get tested upon arrival must still quarantine until they receive a negative result.

Full updated list here.

Navy Pier Announces Phased Reopening, Celebration Fireworks

Following its temporary closure since Labor Day, Navy Pier will begin its phased reopening at the end of April, representatives for the iconic Chicago attraction announced.

The initial phase, which begins April 30, restores public access to the following: parking garages at Navy Pier, Polk Bros Park, Peoples Energy Welcome Pavilion, the pier's North and South docks, Pier Park, select rides and attractions, East End Plaza, tour boats and cruises, the new Sable hotel, and select restaurants at limited capacity.

In celebration of the reopening, Navy Pier will host a 10-minute fireworks show every Saturday in May at 9 p.m. Guests will be allowed to watch the displays from Navy Pier's open spaces.

More details here.

Pfizer vs. Moderna Vaccines: Side Effects, Efficacy and More

As many Johnson & Johnson vaccine appointments shift to doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines in wake of a recommended pause in Illinois and Chicago, what can those who were once anticipating the single-shot vaccine now expect?

Though the pause in the J&J vaccine is likely only temporary, both the city and state have already switched many vaccination clinics and events to one of the remaining vaccines available.

White House chief medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said Sunday he believes the U.S. will likely resume use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine as early as this week, though it could come with a warning or restriction attached.

Here's a breakdown of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, their potential side effects and how effective they are believed to be.

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