ba.2 subvariant

Illinois Coronavirus Updates: BA.2 Symptoms, How Long to Quarantine After Exposure

Here's what to know about the coronavirus, including adjustments to Chicago's travel advisory and the pathway for a second COVID booster

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As cases of the BA.2 subvariant rise in the Midwest and other parts of the countries, what should you look for if you contract COVID?

Some doctors believe symptoms are reflective of the original omicron strain, but that's not the case for others.

And as spring break begins for some, Chicago health officials want residents and visitors to be informed about several changes to the city's travel advisory.

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

How Long Should You Quarantine With COVID? Here’s What the CDC Recommends

As coronavirus cases start to tick upward in some parts of the United States, residents are seeking out reminders of what to do in the event that they are exposed to someone who tests positive for COVID-19.

The BA.2 subvariant of omicron is driving upward trends in cases in numerous locations, including in the Midwest. According to the latest data from the CDC, the omicron variant is still the dominant strain of the virus in the U.S., with the BA.2 subvariant, otherwise known as “stealth omicron,” making up approximately 35% of cases in the last week.

In the Midwest, the BA.2 subvariant is estimated to be responsible for more than 30% of new COVID cases within the last week.

So what should you do if you are exposed to someone with COVID? It depends on whether or not you are up-to-date on your vaccinations. Here's what you need to know.

Chicago Travel Advisory: COVID Precautions Advised in 9% of US Under New Guidance

The Chicago Department of Public Health on Friday urged COVID-19 precautions in areas of the country considered medium or high risk by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as it unveiled new travel advisory recommendations to align with federal guidelines.

CDPH issued a news release, explaining it adjusted Chicago's travel advisory to match the CDC's county level guidance, which gives more weight to hospitalizations and hospital capacity, rather that strictly case numbers. Under the new protocols, counties are either considered low, medium or high risk for COVID transmission.

Starting later this week, Chicago’s travel advisory will look different as city officials announced plans to change how the advisory is structured.

In medium risk areas, people should "consider wearing a mask in indoor public spaces," according to health officials. While in communities deemed high risk, people are advised to wear a mask in such settings.

Read more here.

What are the Symptoms of the Omicron Subvariant BA.2? Here's What Experts Say So Far

Months after the U.S. experienced a surge in cases of the omicron variant, focus has turned to different strain - BA.2, a subvariant of omicron, also referred to as "stealth omicron."

BA.2 captured attention as it spawned a rise in infections in Europe earlier this month, and in recent weeks, case numbers have risen in New York City, where BA.2 appears to be on track to taking over as the dominant strain.

The BA.2 omicron subvariant is expected to make up most of Chicago’s COVID cases by the end of the month, the city’s top doctor said Tuesday.

As of March 19, the subvariant accounted for nearly 35% of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., a roughly 12% increase from the week prior, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In recent days, case numbers have also gone up in the Midwest.

According to the CDC, the BA.2 subvariant made up just over 30% of new COVID cases in a six-state area, including Illinois, over the week ending March 19.

The complete story can be found here.

FDA Expected to Authorize a Second COVID Booster Shot Next Week

The Food and Drug Administration could authorize a second Covid-19 vaccine booster early next week, according to two people with knowledge of the plan.

The move comes amid early signs that the U.S. could soon experience another Covid wave as the omicron subvariant, known as BA.2, spreads throughout Europe and other parts of the world. Other countries, including the U.K., Chile, Israel and Sweden, already allow for a fourth vaccine for certain vulnerable populations.

Earlier this month, Moderna asked the FDA to authorize a fourth Covid shot for all adults, following Pfizer-BioNTech's request for a second booster for people 65 and older. Both companies said protection from the initial booster weakened after a few months.

Additional information is available here.

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