Illinois is now seeing more new COVID cases per day than it has in nearly 10 months in the lead-up to the Thanksgiving holiday.
Doctors now say children are among the groups hardest hit by the rise in cases.
Here’s what you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic across Illinois today:
Illinois COVID Cases Have Surpassed Worst of Delta-Driven Summer Surge, IDPH Says
As the weather gets colder and the holiday season approaches, the state of Illinois is seeing more new COVID cases per day than it has in nearly 10 months, according to new data from the Illinois Department of Public Health.
According to the latest IDPH statistics, the state has averaged 4,618 new cases of coronavirus per day over the last seven days. That number represents a staggering 122% increase in daily cases over the last 31 days alone.
The elevated number of new daily COVID cases has now officially moved past the worst of the delta variant-driven surge in cases that the state saw over the summer. At its worst, that surge saw the state averaging 4,440 cases per day in early September.
Read more here.
Doctors Encourage Vaccinations, Masking as COVID Cases Surge Among Kids
As COVID cases sharply rise in the United States, children are among the groups hardest hit, with cases rising by more than 30% in the last two weeks alone.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, COVID cases among individuals age 17 and younger have risen by 32% in the last two weeks, and Illinois hospitals are reporting similar trends.
“Here in the hospital we’ve been seeing a greater uptick of COVID cases coming to in-patient floors,” Dr. Mike Cappello, vice chair of Advocate Children’s Hospital in Park Ridge, said. “They have not been as sick, thankfully, but they are requiring some in-patient care and observation, so the numbers have been going up.”
Read more here.
How to Search COVID Cases by State Ahead of Thanksgiving Travel
As more Chicagoans plan to travel outside of Illinois for the Thanksgiving holiday this week, how can you search coronavirus metrics for other states across the U.S.?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has created a way to easily search the number of COVID-19 cases, deaths, hospitalizations, vaccinations and level of transmission, among other metrics, nationwide.
To find the latest COVID-related information from the CDC, click here and select a state. There is also an option to search within the state by county or metro area.
Yes, Illinois Still Has an Indoor Mask Mandate. Here’s Where You Need To Wear One
As COVID regulations loosen up across the country, Illinois remains one of six states that still has a mask mandate in effect.
That means masks must still be worn in public indoor spaces in Illinois for those over the age of two and able to medically tolerate a face mask — regardless of vaccination status.
Illinois reinstated its mask mandate in late August, with Gov. J.B. Pritzker at the time saying the state was “running out of time as our hospitals run out of beds.”
Read more here.
2 States Added to Chicago Travel Advisory Days Before Thanksgiving
Two states were added back onto Chicago’s travel advisory Tuesday, bringing the number of states on the city’s warning list to 40 states and one territory just two days before the Thanksgiving holiday.
Connecticut and Maryland both returned to the “orange category” under the travel advisory, meaning unvaccinated travelers traveling from or returning from those states will need to test and quarantine upon their arrival to the city.
California, Guam and North Carolina could come off the list next week, the city said.
See the full list here.
Why is Illinois 1 of 6 Remaining States With a Mask Mandate? Here’s What One Doctor Says
Mask requirements have been lifted in dozens of states and communities across the country, but that has yet to be the case in Illinois – one of six states where masks must still be worn in public indoor spaces.
Of the states where mask mandates remain in effect – Hawaii, Illinois, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon and Washington – Illinois is the only one east of the Mississippi River.
Defending the mask mandate, Dr. Jennifer Seo, chief medical officer with the Chicago Department of Public Health, said the U.S. is seeing higher numbers of cases in areas where the weather is colder.
Michigan and Minnesota, which don’t have mask mandates, have the highest rates of COVID-19, the doctor noted.
Pritzker has not made any announcements about whether the state plans to roll back its mask mandate for indoor spaces.
Read more here.
COVID Booster Shot Schedule: When Can You Get Your COVID Booster Shot, And Where in Chicago Can You Get One?
After U.S. regulators cleared cleared Moderna and Pfizer’s COVID booster shots for all U.S. adults, many are wondering how soon they can get their COVID booster shot, how to schedule an appointment for one, and where.
Health officials have noted that timing with the Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines is different than Johnson & Johnson. So when will you be eligible?
Here’s a breakdown.
COVID-19 Guidance Around Thanksgiving Travel
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) last month announced updated guidance around traveling for Thanksgiving this year, encouraging travelers to get vaccinated against COVID-19. The guidance also suggests wearing masks in public indoor settings.
Wearing a mask over your nose and mouth is required on public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the United States, regardless of vaccination status.
More on what you should know if you’re planning to travel this holiday.
Coronavirus in Illinois: 28,280 New Cases, 150 Deaths, 434K Vaccinations in Past Week
Illinois health officials on Friday reported 28,280 new COVID-19 cases in the past week, along with 150 additional deaths and over 434,995 new vaccine doses administered.
In all, 1,763,866 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 26,227 confirmed COVID fatalities.
New cases of COVID increased 25% from a week prior, according to the latest data from IDPH. The number of deaths increased from last week, as well.
Read more here.
District 65 Cancels Classes Ahead of Thanksgiving Break Due to Staff Shortages
Citing staff shortages and the mental health of staff and faculty, Evanston/Skokie School District 65 is canceling classes on Monday and Tuesday, giving students a longer Thanksgiving break than planned.
District leadership announced the decision in a letter posted online Friday explaining the district doesn’t have adequate staffing or substitute teacher coverage to “provide the necessary care or to support high quality learning next week.”
“We believe this is a result of educators and support staff needing to rest and focus on mental health and also to tend to their own families,” the letter from Superintendent Dr. Devon Horton stated.
Horton added the district hopes “our community can both respect and understand the unique circumstances of this situation and those we all continue to face.”
“We know our staff, families, and students are all doing their best,” he said. “Stress is causing burnout and people are juggling personal and professional responsibilities, and a myriad of challenges catalyzed by the pandemic.”
Read more here.
COVID Booster Shots: Here’s Who Is Eligible After CDC Endorsement
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has endorsed booster shots of the Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines for all U.S. adults, but are you able to get one?
Under the new rules, anyone age 18 and older can choose either a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine booster shot six months after their last dose. For those who received the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, the wait already was just two months.
Federal health officials noted that people can continue to “mix-and-match” boosters from any company.