Chicago's top doctor addresses new reports surrounding heart problems in some vaccine recipients and what parents should know.
Plus, a return of a summer beaches is coming after last year's shutdown.
Here's what you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic across Illinois today.
Cubs Say COVID Vaccinated Fans No Longer Required to Wear Masks at Wrigley Field
The Chicago Cubs have announced changes to their policy on facial coverings inside of Wrigley Field, saying that fans who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 are no longer required, but are still recommended, to wear masks when in outdoor sections of the ballpark.
According to an email sent from the Cubs to fans on Wednesday, fans who are fully vaccinated against coronavirus will not have to wear their masks when walking on concourses or when in the seating area at the ballpark. Fans will still be required to wear masks in indoor spaces inside the park, including retail shops and suites.
Fans who are not fully vaccinated will still be required to wear masks unless actively eating or drinking, the team says. Staff at the ballpark will also still be required to wear masks.
Of More Than 6,000 COVID Fatalities in 2021, 81 Were Fully Vaccinated: Illinois Officials
Health officials in Illinois say that 81 people have died after being diagnosed with so-called “breakthrough” cases of coronavirus since the beginning of this year.
The new numbers were released by the Illinois Department of Public Health on Wednesday. According to those metrics, just 1.3% of the total number of people who have died after contracting coronavirus so far this year were fully vaccinated.
A total of 6,031 people have died so far this year due to COVID-19 or complications related to the virus.
According to state data total of 243 people who were fully vaccinated against coronavirus have been hospitalized after contracting the illness since Jan. 1.
A person is deemed to be “fully vaccinated” two weeks after receiving the second dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna COVID vaccine, or two weeks after receiving the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
A “breakthrough case” of coronavirus is defined as an individual who tested positive for the virus more than 14 days after receiving their final vaccine dose.
Coronavirus in Illinois: 1,139 New COVID Cases, 27 Deaths, 59K Vaccinations
Illinois health officials reported 1,139 new confirmed and probable coronavirus cases and 27 additional deaths in the last day, along with more than 59,000 vaccinations administered.
The newly reported coronavirus cases bring the state total to 1,378,388 cases since the pandemic began and lift the total death toll to 22,676, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.
In the last 24 hours, 42,841 coronavirus test specimens were returned to state laboratories, with more than 24.3 million now conducted during the pandemic.
Read more here.
Chicago Pride Parade Announces 2021 Return With New Fall Date
Chicago's Pride Parade is making a return this year, but the festival is shifting from the start of summer to mid-fall with its new date.
The 2021 event will instead take place on Oct. 3 following last summer's cancellation due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Organizers said the one-time date change was "necessary" due to COVID-19 and "concerns for the safety of participants and onlookers," though they still encourage residents to celebrate June Pride Month.
Read more here.
Myocarditis After COVID Vaccine? Chicago's Top Doc Breaks Down Reports
Chicago's top doctor says there have so far been no cases of myocarditis reported in young COVID vaccine recipients in the city and that there is currently no link between the condition and coronavirus vaccination.
"The rate of this myocarditis that they've seen has not.. It's not been higher," Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said during a Facebook Live Tuesday. "It's not been linked [to vaccines], but it's been one of the things that, you know, younger people very occasionally can get. And so, you know, we've advised physicians here if they were to see that to make sure that... they're reporting it."
Arwady's comments come after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's advisory panel noted some reports of a few young COVID vaccine recipients who experienced cases of myocarditis following their vaccination.
Read more here.
Chicago's Beaches to Reopen This Weekend
Memorial Day weekend marks the reopening of Chicago beaches, a major signal summer is on the way.
The more than two-dozen beaches along the Lake Michigan shoreline will reopen Friday, said Mike Kelly, superintendent and CEO of the Chicago Park District. The city's beaches were closed during the summer of 2020 in line with COVID-19 restrictions.
While the beach season usually runs from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, it wasn't clear exactly when visitors would be welcomed back.
Downtown Chicago Office Buildings Remain Near Empty, But for How Long?
The work-from-home strategy adopted by many companies and employees during the pandemic will soon be shifting as employees return to fill the office buildings of downtown Chicago, according to people who run the towering structures that make up the city’s iconic skyline.
A recent poll of business leaders and professionals conducted by the Building Owners and Managers Association of Chicago (BOMA Chicago) found 52% are excited to return to the office, 25% are nervous, but looking forward to it and 23% are undecided.
Commercial real estate giant JLL said most of its Chicago business tenants kept their leases and are ready to adapt to the new workspace reality of a post-pandemic world.
“Tenants are reconsidering inevitably how they design their space and how often their employees may come into the office,” said Matt Carolan, executive managing director of JLL. “So what might have been typically have been a five-day work week might look like a three-day work week where you have your folks coming in Tuesday, Wednesdays, Thursdays.”
JLL said returning employees can expect a super clean environment, healthier air and additional signage in many buildings.
“It might not necessarily be a permanent desk any longer,” Carolan said. “It could be a temporary place for you to sit down, but there could be conference tables. There could be collaborative areas.”
Illinois COVID Hospitalizations Continue Decline After Brief April Spike
Coronavirus cases requiring hospitalization in Illinois have continued to decline after a brief upward trend in those metrics earlier this year.
According to the latest data available from the Illinois Department of Public Health, there were 1,393 patients hospitalized due to coronavirus in the state as of midnight. That number is the lowest the state has recorded since late March, and represents a continued decline in the number of hospitalizations associated with the virus.
The state experienced a short-lived bump in hospitalizations beginning in late March and extending into mid-April, with a peak hospitalization total of 2,218, which was hit on April 18, according to IDPH data.
After remaining over the 2,000 mark until early May, the number of hospitalizations has begun to decline dramatically, dropping to levels not seen since March.
United Airlines Offering Vaccinated Travelers a Chance to Win Free Travel for a Year
Want free travel for a year? In an effort to boost vaccination rates, United Airlines is holding a contest to give five people the chance to win just that.
The Chicago-based airline on Monday announced the "Your Shot to Fly" sweepstakes for members of its loyalty program, aimed at encouraging people to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
Throughout the month of June, United said it plans to give away 30 pairs of tickets for a roundtrip flight for two in any class, to any destination in the world where United flies.
Then on July 1, United will announce the five randomly selected winners of the grand prize, which is travel for a year for themselves and a companion, also in any class of service and to any United destination.
Chicago Rental Assistance Program Offers Up to 15 Months of Rent for Tenants Struggling to Pay Due to COVID-19
The city of Chicago is offering up to 15 months of rent payments for tenants struggling to pay for housing due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The application for the Chicago Emergency Rental Assistance Program opened Monday, the city announced. Applications will be accepted through 11:59 p.m. on June 8 .
The program will provide grants of up to 12 months of unpaid rent and three months of future rent payments for eligible tenants and landlords, the city says.
To be eligible, tenants must live in Chicago and have suffered a hardship due to COVID-19, like job loss, reduced hours or illness in the household. Applicants must also be at risk of housing instability and have earned less than the maximum income threshold.
That threshold ranges from $52,200 for one person up to $86,500 for a six-person household, according to the city.
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