Preparations are underway for the Thanksgiving holiday, but what precautions should families take as Illinois reports what could be the start of a rise in COVID cases?
Here's what you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic across Illinois today:
Suburban Cook County Says No Adults Will Be Denied COVID-19 Booster Shots
Cook County health officials said Monday that all adults would be eligible for COVID-19 booster shots as the county prepares to step up its fight against the global pandemic, but later adjusted those claims to indicate that "no one seeking a booster will be turned away from a vaccination site."
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After originally stating that all adults could receive a booster shot, despite federal guidelines recommending otherwise, the Cook County Department of Public Health adjusted its guidance to state that the following groups are eligible for booster shots:
- residents who are 65 years and older
- residents who are 50–64 years with underlying medical conditions
- residents 18 years and older who live in long-term care settings at least 6 months after completing the primary series
"It is important to note that no one seeking a booster will be turned away from a vaccination site," the health department said in its updated guidance.
COVID and Thanksgiving: Here's How Chicago Doctors Say You Can Celebrate Safely
Thanksgiving will be noticeably different and less restrictive compared to last year, but COVID-19 is still a top concern for those hoping to celebrate safely.
A spokesperson for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the agency fully expects families and friends will gather for the holidays this year. The best way to celebrate safely, according to the CDC, is to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
Speaking at a news conference Friday, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot echoed the message, saying it's "a must" for those who intend on gathering with loved ones for the holiday season.
Read more here.
Illinois Sees 29% Increase in COVID Cases Over Past Week, Data Shows
After seeing metrics decrease for several months, the state of Illinois experienced a more than 20% increase in coronavirus cases within the past week, according to the latest data reported Friday.
The Illinois Department of Public Health recorded a 29% increase in cases from the week prior, with numbers jumping from 17,462 to 22,600 cases in one week.
22,600 New Cases, 129 Deaths, 439K Vaccinations in Past Week
Illinois health officials on Friday reported 22,600 new COVID-19 cases in the past week, along with 129 additional deaths and over 439,291 new vaccine doses administered.
In all, 1,735,586 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 this week bring the state to 26,077 confirmed COVID fatalities.
Read more here.
‘Million Dollar Question': Chicago Doctor Weighs in on Future of Masks
When can people in Illinois stop wearing masks? When will Illinois halt its indoor mask mandate?
"I think that's the million dollar question right now," said Dr. Emily Landon, an infectious disease expert at UChicago Medicine. "I think everyone's asking, right, when are we going to drop our masks? We get that question all the time."
Illinois' latest indoor mask mandate remains in effect, meaning everyone over the age of 2 must wear a mask in indoor settings, and Gov. J.B. Pritzker has said there are a mix of things he's looking at to determine the mandate's status, especially coronavirus hospitalization numbers and vaccination numbers.
Dr. Landon said people should see masks as a tool and not a hindrance, especially given previous coronavirus restrictions.
"I know a lot of people see masks as some sort of barrier," Dr. Landon said. "But compared to the restrictions and the closures of restaurants and the occupancy limits and not being able to go to the gym and not being able to go to theater and things like that, masks are a much better trade-off."
Read more here.
Chicagoans Over Age 18 Will Not Be Turned Away from Getting COVID Booster Shot, Arwady Says
Chicago residents over the age of 18 won't be turned away from getting COVID-19 vaccine booster shots as health officials report "plenty of availability," the city's top doctor said Tuesday.
"You're not gonna get turned away from getting a booster if you're over the age of 18," Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said in a Facebook Live event. "We have plenty of availability here."
Arwady noted that those of any age who want to get a third vaccine shot must be six months out from the second dose of their Pfizer or Moderna vaccines. For those who initially received Johnson & Johnson, the wait period is two months.
Read more here.
Here's When You Need to Get the COVID Vaccine to Be Fully Vaccinated by Thanksgiving
The deadline to be vaccinated against COVID-19 before the Thanksgiving holiday, allowing more families to gather together this November, arrives this week.
Though Chicagoans will not be able to receive the two-shot Pfizer nor Moderna vaccines in time for Thanksgiving, the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine should provide protection from COVID if administered by Thursday.
Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady has given additional dates to receive the first and single vaccine doses in order to be fully vaccinated by Hanukkah, Christmas and Kwanzaa.
COVID Booster Eligibility: Who Can Get the Third Vaccine Dose Now?
COVID-19 vaccine booster shots are available for millions across the U.S., but what qualifies you to receive the third dose?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention endorsed extra doses of all three of the nation’s vaccines last month, causing health departments across the Chicago area to create plans to put additional shots in arms.
For those eligible, patients should receive a booster dose of the COVID vaccine at least six months after their first series of shots, health officials noted.
Here's a complete breakdown of who is eligible for Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID vaccine booster shot, according to the CDC.