coronavirus illinois

Illinois Coronavirus Updates: School Outbreaks, Fake COVID Vaccine Card, $100 Gift Cards

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As COVID cases continue to rise nationally, multiple schools across Illinois have reported outbreaks in the days since the fall school year began.

Plus, coronavirus hospitalizations among children have continued to increase in the state.

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

Suburban Man Released From Hospital After 9-Month Battle Against COVID

After spending nine long months in an area hospital during his battle with coronavirus, a North Chicago man is facing down a long recovery from the illness that tested him at every turn.

Kelvin Jordan is a COVID long-hauler, being diagnosed with the virus last year and then spending more than three-quarters of a year waging war with the disease.

“He was getting fed by a tube,” his wife Jacqueline Johnson-Jordan says. “They had to put a trachea in his throat. He was on a ventilator, that main ventilator they talk about when people catch the COVID, he was on that for two and a half months.”

Johnson-Jordan says that her husband is happy to finally be out of the hospital, but there are plenty of challenges remaining ahead.

“He can’t walk, so he has to learn that all over again,” she says. “He’s not able to stand by himself, so he’s got a long road.”

His community will be rallying behind him. He and his wife spent years giving back by volunteering their time at a local food bank, and now that community is looking to repay him for his tireless efforts.

Read the full story here.

IDPH: 26 COVID Outbreaks Reported at Illinois Schools, Including 4 in Cook County

Macoupin County has reported two outbreaks, including one involving at least 16 or more COVID cases at Staunton Community USD #6. That outbreak occurred via transmission of the virus in classrooms, according to officials, and involves cases among staff and students.

Another outbreak involving 16 or more cases was reported in Clinton County, located near St. Louis. There, more than a dozen cases have been reported at Carlyle School, with students making up the current reported cases.

Several outbreaks have also been reported within NBC 5’s viewing area in northeastern Illinois, including four in suburban Cook County.

The most serious as of Thursday is at Glenbrook Elementary, where officials have confirmed between 11 and 16 cases of the virus among students.

Read more here.

Coronavirus by the Numbers: Southern Illinois Reporting Dwindling Availability of ICU Beds

Parts of southern Illinois are continuing to see increases in COVID test positivity and hospitalization rates, with one region having just seven intensive care unit beds available to help treat an influx of coronavirus patients.

According to the latest data released by the Illinois Department of Public Health, Region 5, comprised of 20 of Illinois’ 102 counties and located in the southern tip of the state, has just seven, or 8.3%, of its 84 ICU beds currently open.

The region is seeing the highest test positivity rate in the state, at 11% as of Monday and still rising, and has seen increases in COVID hospitalizations on nine of the last 10 days, according to IDPH data.

The ICU metric is still a slight improvement from a week ago, when the region was down to just one open ICU bed, but challenges remain ahead for the area as COVID cases and hospitalizations rise.

Read more here.

Deadline to Receive First COVID Vaccine Dose For Those Mandated in Illinois Approaches This Weekend

The deadline for health care workers, teachers and higher education students to receive the first dose of the coronavirus vaccine is approaching this weekend.

Workers in mandated groups will need to receive the first dose of a two-dose vaccination series or a single-dose vaccination by Sept. 5. Second doses of the vaccine must be received by 30 days after the first dose, according to the state requirement.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker said the following groups will be required to receive the vaccine in a move he said was aimed at lowering the number of breakthrough cases, hospital admissions and spread of the delta variant:

  • Health care workers, including workers at public and private nursing homes
  • Teachers and staff at pre-k-12 schools
  • Personnel and students at higher education institutions

Those who do not receive the vaccine or opt out for medical reasons or a religious exemption must follow a testing schedule laid out by the state. Testing will be required once a week in schools and healthcare facilities, but that requirement could increase in some cases, such as outbreaks.

Read more here.

United Center Will Require Proof of Vaccination or Negative COVID Test For All Event Attendees

The United Center will now require anyone attending events at the arena, including Chicago Bulls and Blackhawks games, to present either proof of full vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test in order to enter the venue, facility representatives announced Thursday.

The decision, according to United Center representatives, reflects the venue's "continued commitment to providing the best environment for a safe return for all fans and employees" and will also involve arena and team employees.

A new entrance process that includes proof of vaccination or a negative test goes into effect for all future events and will remain in place until further notice, according to the United Center.

Read more here.

Mu, Delta, Lambda: Here's a Breakdown of COVID Variants and What We Know So Far

As cases of the delta variant continue to raise concerns across the U.S. and a new variant reaches a warning level for the World Health Organization, many are wondering what variants are out there and which should we be concerned about?

Here's a full breakdown.

Chicago Teachers Union Warns of 'Resistance' if COVID Safety Measures Not Improved

Chicago teachers are threatening to "step up resistance" if safety measures aren't heightened at city schools after the new year began in-person this week.

Classes started Monday with no agreement in place between the union and Chicago Public Schools district.

"Reports of safety failures at public schools have been pouring in from across the city since students started returning on Monday," the union said in a release Thursday morning.

The union tweeted Wednesday that hundreds of its delegates were meeting "to discuss returning to buildings and next steps."

Read more here.

Chicago Offering $100 Visa Gift Card to Those Who Get Vaccinated

Chicago's health department will soon offer $100 Visa gift cards to anyone 12 and older who gets vaccinated.

Gift cards will be available starting on Saturday at mobile vaccination events, and on Tuesday for at home appointments, officials said.

Residents will receive a $50 gift card when they get each dose of the Pfizer vaccine and those who get the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine will receive two $50 gift cards when they get their shot.

For a list of mobile and pop-up vaccination events and available vaccines, check here.

26 Illinois Schools Report COVID-19 Outbreaks, State Says

More than 25 Illinois schools are reporting COVID-19 outbreaks, mostly in districts that are complying with Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s school mask executive order.

The Illinois Department of Public Health on Tuesday identified 26 schools with COVID-19 outbreaks. The outbreaks reported by the department include those that have been identified by the school’s local health department to have at least two COVID-19 cases among people who may have a shared exposure on school grounds and come from different households.

More on Illinois schools' COVID outbreaks here.

Reflecting National Trend, COVID Hospitalizations Increasing Among Illinois Children

Coronavirus hospitalizations among children have continued to increase in the state of Illinois, with nearly 1,200 children having been hospitalized because of COVID-19 in the state since last summer.

According to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the state of Illinois is reporting an average of five new COVID hospitalizations per 100,000 children over the last seven days, representing a 22.2% increase over the previous week.

That number is tabulated over a seven-day period spanning from Aug. 17-23, according to the CDC. Data collected since that date is still considered “preliminary” by CDC officials, and “should be interpreted with caution.”

The number of COVID hospitalizations among children, while still significantly lower than it was during a peak in cases last November, has been steadily on the rise over the last month, increasing nine-fold since July 22.

That number is reflective of a national trend of increased hospitalizations among children, although Illinois’ numbers are increasing at a much slower rate than those of the United States as a whole.

Read more here.

Illinois Reports Biggest Single-Day Increase in Cases Since January

The state of Illinois continued a recent upward trend in coronavirus cases on Wednesday, hitting its highest single-day mark of new cases of the virus since late January.

According to data released by the Illinois Department of Public Health, the state recorded 5,178 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 over the last 24 hours, the highest single-day increase in cases since Jan. 22, when 7,042 cases were reported.

Wednesday marked the first time since Jan. 23 that the state had reported 5,000 or more new confirmed or probable COVID-19 cases.

Officials say 26 additional deaths have been confirmed in the last 24 hours, bringing the statewide total during the pandemic to 23,979.

Read more here.

Chicago Pride Parade Canceled For Second Year Amid COVID Concerns

Chicago's Pride Parade has been canceled for the second year as the COVID pandemic persists, organizers announced Wednesday.

Following last summer's cancelation due to the pandemic, the 2021 Chicago Pride Parade was rescheduled for later this fall to make way for COVID vaccines and LGBTQI+ History Month.

"We don't feel, though, that we can do it safely for everyone in the parade and the people watching," said 2021 parade organizer Tim Frye in a statement. "We must cancel the parade for the second year."

The 2021 event was previously scheduled to take place on Oct. 3.

What is a Variant of Interest? A Breakdown as WHO Adds New 'Mu' Variant to Watch List

The World Health Organization is monitoring a new coronavirus variant called "mu," which the agency says is now labeled a "variant of interest."

What does that mean?

There are three so-called categories of variants being monitored by global and U.S. health officials, but not all variants rise to the level of such classification.

Variants are categorized as "variants of interest," "variants of concern" and "variants of high consequence."

Read more here.

Suburban Woman Charged With Using Fake COVID Vaccine Card in Hawaii: Complaint

A woman from suburban Chicago has been arrested and charged with using a fake vaccine card with Moderna misspelled on it in an alleged attempt to avoid quarantining during a trip to Hawaii, authorities said.

Chloe Mrozak, of Oak Lawn, was accused of using falsified vaccination documents and was being held at the Honolulu Police Department, according to court records.

Read more here.

Moderna vs. Pfizer: Is One Vaccine Stronger Against Delta Variant?

With many now able to choose which COVID vaccine they receive, questions surrounding which offers better protection against the now-surging delta variant have spiked.

Several studies have been conducted to determine vaccine effectiveness, but is one vaccine actually better than the others?

According to medical experts, the three vaccines currently available in the U.S. each offer protection.

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

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.

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