Health officials are warning some travelers ahead of the long Labor Day weekend.
Plus, concerns are growing in southern Illinois as available ICU beds dwindle.
Here’s what you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic across Illinois today:
Officials Issue Warning for Travelers This Labor Day Weekend
You might want to think twice before traveling this Labor Day weekend, according to health officials.
As COVID metrics continue to climb across the U.S. and the delta variant surges in many states, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said even those who are fully vaccinated should consider the risks.
During a White House press briefing Tuesday, Walensky said everyone should rethink their travel plans, though she specifically urged unvaccinated people not to travel at all.
Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said ultimately the decision will be left to parents, but she specifically urged those with unvaccinated kids to avoid traveling for the long holiday weekend.
Nearly every U.S. state, with the exception of Vermont, is now on the city’s travel advisory, meaning those states are experiencing 15 cases per day per 100,000 people.
Read more here.
Suburban Man Released From Hospital After 9-Month Battle Against COVID
After spending nine long months in an area hospital during his battle with coronavirus, a North Chicago man is facing down a long recovery from the illness that tested him at every turn.
Kelvin Jordan is a COVID long-hauler, being diagnosed with the virus last year and then spending more than three-quarters of a year waging war with the disease.
“He was getting fed by a tube,” his wife Jacqueline Johnson-Jordan says. “They had to put a trachea in his throat. He was on a ventilator, that main ventilator they talk about when people catch the COVID, he was on that for two and a half months.”
Johnson-Jordan says that her husband is happy to finally be out of the hospital, but there are plenty of challenges remaining ahead.
“He can’t walk, so he has to learn that all over again,” she says. “He’s not able to stand by himself, so he’s got a long road.”
His community will be rallying behind him. He and his wife spent years giving back by volunteering their time at a local food bank, and now that community is looking to repay him for his tireless efforts.
Read the full story here.
IDPH: 26 COVID Outbreaks Reported at Illinois Schools, Including 4 in Cook County
Macoupin County has reported two outbreaks, including one involving at least 16 or more COVID cases at Staunton Community USD #6. That outbreak occurred via transmission of the virus in classrooms, according to officials, and involves cases among staff and students.
Another outbreak involving 16 or more cases was reported in Clinton County, located near St. Louis. There, more than a dozen cases have been reported at Carlyle School, with students making up the current reported cases.
Several outbreaks have also been reported within NBC 5’s viewing area in northeastern Illinois, including four in suburban Cook County.
The most serious as of Thursday is at Glenbrook Elementary, where officials have confirmed between 11 and 16 cases of the virus among students.
Read more here.
Coronavirus by the Numbers: Southern Illinois Reporting Dwindling Availability of ICU Beds
Parts of southern Illinois are continuing to see increases in COVID test positivity and hospitalization rates, with one region having just seven intensive care unit beds available to help treat an influx of coronavirus patients.
According to the latest data released by the Illinois Department of Public Health, Region 5, comprised of 20 of Illinois’ 102 counties and located in the southern tip of the state, has just seven, or 8.3%, of its 84 ICU beds currently open.
The region is seeing the highest test positivity rate in the state, at 11% as of Monday and still rising, and has seen increases in COVID hospitalizations on nine of the last 10 days, according to IDPH data.
The ICU metric is still a slight improvement from a week ago, when the region was down to just one open ICU bed, but challenges remain ahead for the area as COVID cases and hospitalizations rise.
Read more here.
Deadline to Receive First COVID Vaccine Dose For Those Mandated in Illinois Approaches This Weekend
The deadline for health care workers, teachers and higher education students to receive the first dose of the coronavirus vaccine is approaching this weekend.
Workers in mandated groups will need to receive the first dose of a two-dose vaccination series or a single-dose vaccination by Sept. 5. Second doses of the vaccine must be received by 30 days after the first dose, according to the state requirement.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker said the following groups will be required to receive the vaccine in a move he said was aimed at lowering the number of breakthrough cases, hospital admissions and spread of the delta variant:
- Health care workers, including workers at public and private nursing homes
- Teachers and staff at pre-k-12 schools
- Personnel and students at higher education institutions
Those who do not receive the vaccine or opt out for medical reasons or a religious exemption must follow a testing schedule laid out by the state. Testing will be required once a week in schools and healthcare facilities, but that requirement could increase in some cases, such as outbreaks.
Read more here.
United Center Will Require Proof of Vaccination or Negative COVID Test For All Event Attendees
The United Center will now require anyone attending events at the arena, including Chicago Bulls and Blackhawks games, to present either proof of full vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test in order to enter the venue, facility representatives announced Thursday.
The decision, according to United Center representatives, reflects the venue’s “continued commitment to providing the best environment for a safe return for all fans and employees” and will also involve arena and team employees.
A new entrance process that includes proof of vaccination or a negative test goes into effect for all future events and will remain in place until further notice, according to the United Center.
Read more here.
Mu, Delta, Lambda: Here’s a Breakdown of COVID Variants and What We Know So Far
As cases of the delta variant continue to raise concerns across the U.S. and a new variant reaches a warning level for the World Health Organization, many are wondering what variants are out there and which should we be concerned about?
Chicago Offering $100 Visa Gift Card to Those Who Get Vaccinated Starting This Weekend
Chicago’s health department will soon offer $100 Visa gift cards to anyone 12 and older who gets vaccinated.
Gift cards will be available starting on Saturday at mobile vaccination events, and on Tuesday for at home appointments, officials said.
Residents will receive a $50 gift card when they get each dose of the Pfizer vaccine and those who get the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine will receive two $50 gift cards when they get their shot.
For a list of mobile and pop-up vaccination events and available vaccines, check here.
Moderna vs. Pfizer: Is One Vaccine Stronger Against Delta Variant?
With many now able to choose which COVID vaccine they receive, questions surrounding which offers better protection against the now-surging delta variant have spiked.
Several studies have been conducted to determine vaccine effectiveness, but is one vaccine actually better than the others?
According to medical experts, the three vaccines currently available in the U.S. each offer protection.
Proof, Testing, Religious Exemptions: What to Know About COVID Vaccine Mandates
With both Illinois and Chicago mandating COVID vaccines for certain groups, what are the requirements and what do you need to know?