coronavirus illinois

Illinois Coronavirus Updates: Omicron Subvariant Symptoms, Masking Guidance

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

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With nearly all of the Chicago area now under a heightened risk category for COVID, what does that mean for masking guidelines and who should wear one?

Meanwhile, another omicron subvariant is gaining momentum in parts of the U.S.

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

As New Omicron Subvariant Spreads, Here Are the Symptoms to Watch For

The BA.2 omicron subvariant still remains the dominant COVID strain across the U.S., but another subvariant has gained momentum in recent days.

BA.2.12.1, which health officials say appears to be up to 27% more contagious than BA.2, is responsible for approximately 36.5% of cases nationwide, according to the most recent CDC weekly numbers.

While BA.2 accounts for approximately 75% of all U.S. cases, it is said to make up at least 70% of the cases in the healthcare region encompassing New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

As BA.2.12.1 grows across the country, are there any specific symptoms that point toward the variant, and overall what symptoms should you look for?

Read more here.

Johnson & Johnson COVID Vaccine: What to Know as Federal Guidance Changes

For several months the Food and Drug Administration has advised Americans to receive either the Pfizer or Moderna series of COVID vaccines as opposed to the Johnson & Johnson single-shot vaccine, but that guidance has now been strengthened as the agency is now strictly limiting the usage of the drug.

On Thursday, the FDA announced that it would impose strict limits on who can receive the Johnson & Johnson vaccine amid ongoing concerns about a rare but serious side effect that could cause life-threatening blood clots in patients who receive the shot.

Here is the latest on what we know about the FDA’s change of guidance.

As Chicago Moves Into Heightened COVID Risk, When Could a Mask Mandate Return?

Chicago moved from "low" to "medium" risk for COVID-19 transmission on Friday, so when could health officials reinstate restrictions like the mask mandate?

The Chicago Department of Public Health is now "strongly recommending" that people wear a mask in public, indoor spaces due to the increase in cases, but this doesn't mean a face covering requirement is in place.

Read more here.

Here's Where Masks Are Advised in the Chicago Area and Who Should Wear Them

Multiple COVID metrics have risen over the course of the past week, leading the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to expand the number of counties where precautions are suggested.

According to an update of the CDC's county-by-county community levels map, 12% of U.S. counties are listed as having either medium or high community levels, an increase from 9% last week.

Read more here.

Nearly All Chicago-Area Counties Now Under Medium Alert Level for COVID: CDC

As COVID cases continue to rise in Illinois, nearly all of the Chicago area is now experiencing medium risk levels for the virus, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

As of Friday, Cook, Kane, McHenry, Lake, DuPage, DeKalb, Kendall and Will counties all were listed under the CDC's "medium community" alert level, the second-highest level on the CDC's scale. At least six other counties in the state - including McLean, Logan, Sangamon, Douglas, Champaign and Winnebago counties - are also at this level.

Here's what that means for you.

COVID Precautions Recommended in 12% of US Under Chicago Travel Advisory

Approximately 12% of U.S. counties are either considered as medium or high community levels for COVID-19, according to the city of Chicago's travel advisory and the latest information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

For the first time since travel advisory guidance was revised earlier this year, Chicago itself and several suburban counties are listed in the medium category, meaning safety COVID measures are advised in those areas, too. City health officials a week earlier acknowledged the shift was possible, noting it could happen in the coming weeks.

Read more here.

Coronavirus in Illinois: 30K New Cases, 46 Deaths in Last Week As Counties Rise to Medium COVID Risk

Illinois health officials reported 30,633 new COVID-19 cases over the past week, along with 46 additional deaths. While cases have increased, deaths have stayed the same.

The previous week, the state reported 24,646 new and 46 deaths. The week before that, the state reported 19,551 new cases and 58 deaths were reported.

Over the past seven days, the state’s weekly vaccination average dropped to 14,163 doses, per IDPH data. Since last Friday, 99,144 doses were administered across the state.

Read more here.

Chicago ‘Strongly Recommending' People Wear Masks Indoors as City Moves Into Medium COVID Risk Level

As Chicago moves from "low" to "medium" COVID-19 risk due to an increasing number of cases, city health officials are "strongly recommending" that people wear a mask in public, indoor spaces.

Over the last seven days, Cook County and Chicago combined recorded 259 COVID cases per 100,000 residents, which caused the area to move over the 200-case threshold for medium risk level.

Read more here.

What to Know About ‘Medium Community Level' For COVID-19, According to CDC

With nearly every Chicago-area county having reached the "medium community level" for COVID-19, per guidance set by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, what does that mean for you?

Here's what the CDC recommends for counties under a medium alert level.

COVID Symptoms in Children: Signs to Watch as Officials Warn Kids Getting Hit Hard by Virus

As Chicago-area health officials warn people under the age of 20 are being especially hard-hit by the virus, many parents are likely wondering what symptoms they should be aware of in children and teens.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, children have similar symptoms to adults, and in many cases experience milder illness.

"While children are as likely to get COVID-19 as adults, kids are less likely to become severely ill," the Mayo Clinic reports. "Up to 50% of children and adolescents might have COVID-19 with no symptoms. However, some children with COVID-19 need to be hospitalized, treated in the intensive care unit or placed on a ventilator to help them breathe."

Read more here.

COVID Cases, Hospitalizations on the Rise in DuPage County, Officials Say

Health officials in suburban DuPage County are warning residents that COVID cases and hospitalizations are on the rise in the area, with residents under the age of 20 being especially hard-hit by the spread of the virus.

According to the latest data provided by the DuPage County Health Department, the county is now reporting 259 new cases of COVID per 100,000 residents per week.  

Read more here.

COVID vs. Allergies: How Can You Tell the Difference in Symptoms?

With high levels of tree pollen now in the air and highly-contagious COVID variants spreading this spring, it can be increasingly difficult to identify the reason behind your runny nose or fatigue. 

"Now with COVID and all the different strains becoming a little bit milder, people are getting confused with the symptoms," said Dr. Ruchi Gupta, professor of pediatrics and medicine for Northwestern's Feinberg School of Medicine.

Read more here.

How Long Are You Contagious With COVID and How Soon Could Symptoms Start? Here's What to Know

If you test positive for coronavirus or were exposed to someone who has, when could symptoms start, how long are you contagious, how long should you quarantine for and when should you get tested?

With COVID cases slowly rising in Illinois and parts of the U.S., local health officials have issued warnings to take precautions, particularly in areas where transmission risk is increasing.

Illinois has seen new cases of the virus increase by more than 40% in the last week.

Read more here.

How Soon After Exposure Do COVID Symptoms Start?

As cases of the coronavirus climb in Illinois and across the country due in part to the now-dominant BA.2 omicron subvariant, the risk for being exposed to someone with COVID is also increasing. But when might symptoms first appear following a potential exposure?

Some experts say the omicron variant "sped up" timing for what many once knew with COVID, including the incubation period, or the time between exposure and the start of symptoms. Late last year, guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention surrounding quarantine and isolation were updated to reflect that change.

Read more here.

CDC Guidelines For COVID Exposure: What to Know About Quarantine Times, Symptoms

After you've been exposed to or test positive for COVID-19, how long should you quarantine from others and when could symptoms appear?

As cases, and now deaths and hospitalizations as well, slowly rise in Illinois and parts of the U.S., local health officials have issued warnings to take precautions, particularly in areas where transmission risk is increasing.

Here's a look at the guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on what to do if you test positive or believe you were exposed to someone who has. This guidance was most recently updated at the end of March.

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