Illinois coronavirus: Positivity rate dips to two-month low as Chicago updates travel advisory

Illinois’ latest COVID-19 numbers suggest most of the state may have gotten through the worst of the Delta variant storm — for now — but downstate hospitals are still being stretched thin.

The Illinois Department of Public Health on Tuesday reported 3,002 new cases of the disease were diagnosed among almost 74,000 tests, lowering the average statewide case positivity rate to 3.4%, its lowest point since late July.

After two months of exponential increases, daily caseloads now have been on the decline since Labor Day weekend. New hospital admissions have trended downward, too, with the 2,039 COVID-19 patients hospitalized Monday night marking a 10% decrease since last week.

In Chicago, the improvement has been even more pronounced. The city’s positivity rate is down to 3%, with average daily cases down 8% since last week and hospital admissions down 50%.

“We really are looking like we’re coming down the other side of this,” city Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said. “Broadly, things are going quite well, honestly, in Chicago at this point.”

New COVID-19 cases by day

Graphic by Jesse Howe and Caroline Hurley | Sun-Times

Source: Illinois Department of Public Health

Graph not displaying properly? Click here.

The situation is still far worse in southern Illinois, but even that region — the least vaccinated in the state — is seeing marginal improvement. Two intensive care unit hospital beds were available for the region’s 400,000-plus residents Monday night following an entire week of operating at full capacity, which had forced hospitals to divert some patients as far away as St. Louis or Nashville to receive critical care.

Southern Illinois’ regional positivity rate also dipped below 10% Tuesday for the first time since mid-August. Only about 37% of eligible residents in the region are fully vaccinated, compared to about 62% statewide. In Chicago, it’s 66%.

The nation as a whole is “still not doing very well” in containing the Delta variant surge, Arwady said. The city updated its travel quarantine advisory for unvaccinated people to remove California and Puerto Rico, where case numbers have improved, but nonessential travel is still discouraged across the rest of the country.

While coronavirus deaths remain on the rise in Illinois, experts say that’s to be expected because it takes several weeks for ballooning cases to develop into fatal infections. The state reported 23 more deaths Tuesday, while the virus has claimed an average of 37 Illinois lives each day over the past week.

Chicago Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady discusses the return to an indoor mask mandate in August.

Chicago Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady discusses the return to an indoor mask mandate in August.
Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times file

As officials urge unvaccinated residents to finally roll up a sleeve, they’re also reminding people sign up for a flu shot early this fall.

“Flu vaccines and COVID-19 vaccines can be given at the same time if you haven’t already gotten your COVID-19 vaccine,” Illinois Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said in a statement. “Vaccines are our best protection against severe illnesses, hospitalizations, and deaths due to either flu or COVID-19.”

For help finding a shot, visit or call (833) 621-1284.

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Coronavirus live updates: White House to lift covid-19 travel ban on international visitors

India, home to the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer, had halted exports of vaccines in April, as a devastating second wave of the coronavirus ravaged the country recording over 400,000 daily cases. Now, cases have fallen to just over 30,000 a day, and its vaccine drive has gathered momentum.

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Coronavirus news as it happened: UK records a further 164 deaths and 30,144 new cases; anti-vaxxers protest in London | World news









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Coronavirus latest news: Travel traffic light system set for shake-up in time for October half term –

Coronavirus latest news: Travel traffic light system set for shake-up in time for October half term

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Health News Roundup: U.S. CDC warns against travel to Sri Lanka, Jamaica, and Brunei; Latest on the worldwide spread of the coronavirus and more

Following is a summary of current health news briefs.

Theranos founder’s defense may turn on state of mind, experts say

As Elizabeth Holmes’ fraud trial gets underway this week, lawyers for the former Silicon Valley entrepreneur may try to show she was a true believer in the blood-testing technology at her startup Theranos Inc, and never intended to defraud investors and patients, legal experts said. On Wednesday, federal jurors in San Jose, California will hear opening arguments in the case against the Stanford University dropout who once dazzled Silicon Valley and is now charged with misleading investors and patients by falsely claiming that the company’s printer-sized devices could run a range of tests and produce accurate results using a single drop of blood.

75% of U.S. adults have taken at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine – CDC

75% of adults in the United States have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine as of Tuesday morning, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. The agency said 193,798,688 of adults have had at least one shot, while 165,947,460 people, or 64.3% of the adult population, are fully vaccinated.

U.S. CDC warns against travel to Sri Lanka, Jamaica, and Brunei

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday warned against travel to Sri Lanka, Jamaica and Brunei because of the rising number of COVID-19 cases. The CDC raised its travel advisory to “Level 4: Very High” for those countries, telling Americans they should avoid travel there.

Factbox – Latest on the worldwide spread of the coronavirus

President Joe Biden on Thursday will present a six-pronged strategy intended to fight the spread of the highly contagious coronavirus Delta variant and increase U.S. COVID-19 vaccinations, the White House said on Tuesday. DEATHS AND INFECTIONS

Spain authorises booster COVID-19 shots for severely immunocompromised people

Spain’s healthcare regulator approved on Tuesday a third dose of COVID-19 vaccines for people with severely compromised immune systems who are likely to have weaker protection from the conventional two-dose inoculation schemes. The so-called booster shot should be administered 28 days after the previous one in some cases, and preferably the same type of vaccine is to be used, the Public Health Commission said in a statement. It would not say how many people could get such shots.

Mexican Supreme Court decriminalizes abortion in historic shift

Mexico’s Supreme Court unanimously ruled on Tuesday that penalizing abortion is unconstitutional, a major victory for advocates of women’s health and human rights, just as parts of the United States enact tougher laws against the practice. The court ruling in the majority Roman Catholic nation follows moves to decriminalize abortion at state level, although most of the country still has tough laws in place against women terminating their pregnancy early.

AstraZeneca boss Soriot says do not rush needlessly into COVID booster vaccines – The Telegraph

AstraZeneca Plc Chief Executive Pascal Soriot said booster COVID vaccine doses may not be needed for everyone in Britain and rushing into a nationwide rollout of third doses risks piling extra pressure on the National Health Service (NHS), the Telegraph reported on Tuesday. “We need the weight of the clinical evidence gathered from real world use before we can make an informed decision on a third dose,” Soriot wrote in the newspaper.

Biden to outline plan to curb coronavirus Delta variant as cases grow

President Joe Biden on Thursday will present a six-pronged strategy intended to fight the spread of the highly contagious coronavirus Delta variant and increase U.S. COVID-19 vaccinations, the White House said on Tuesday. The United States, which leads the world in COVID-19 cases and deaths, is struggling to stem a wave of infections driven by the variant even as officials try to persuade Americans who have resisted vaccination to get the shots. Rising case loads have raised concerns as children head back to school, while also rattling investors and upending company return-to-office plans.

Venezuela receives first batch of vaccines through COVAX mechanism

Venezuela has received its first batch of coronavirus vaccines through the COVAX mechanism intended for poor countries, the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) said on Tuesday, after months of delays the government attributed to U.S. sanctions. The South American country has received 693,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine manufactured by China’s Sinovac Biotech, the first of a total of 11 million it will receive through COVAX, overseen by the GAVI alliance and the World Health Organization.

Bristol-Myers to require U.S., Puerto Rico staff to be vaccinated

Bristol-Myers Squibb Co will require all its employees working in the United States and Puerto Rico to be fully vaccinated against the coronavirus effective Nov. 1, the drugmaker said on Tuesday. In the face of a resurgence in COVID-19 cases, spurred by the highly contagious Delta coronavirus variant, many U.S. companies have come out with mask mandates and changed their vaccination policies.

(With inputs from agencies.)

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Coronavirus live updates: Philippines to lift travel ban on India, 9 other countries

Coronavirus live updates: Philippines to lift travel ban on India, 9 other countries


India on Saturday reported 42,618 new Covid cases and 330 deaths in last 24 hours, according to health ministry’s updated data at 8 am. The total cases have mounted to 3,29,45,907. Meanwhile, the total recoveries have jumped to 3,21,00,001. Stay with TOI for all updates.Read Less

THE TIMES OF INDIA | Sep 04, 2021, 16:04:52 IST


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NSW Covid lockdown restrictions: update to Sydney, regional NSW and Canberra, ACT coronavirus rules explained | New South Wales

NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian has announced a plan for schools to return to face-to-face learning from 25 October.

Students will return on a staggered basis, with kindergarten and year one students to return to the classroom first, and students in year two, six and 11 going back from 1 November.

New freedoms have been announced for fully vaccinated people and the regional lockdown was extended, with all of New South Wales under stay-at-home restrictions until 10 September.

The greater Sydney lockdown has been extended until at least the end of September.

Here are the current Covid restrictions in place in New South Wales and ACT.

When can you leave home?

There is no change to the four essential reasons people are allowed to leave home:

  • Shopping for food or other essential goods and services. You must shop within 5km of home if you are within greater Sydney. Browsing in shops is prohibited, and only one person per household, a day may leave the home for shopping.

  • Medical care or compassionate needs, including getting a Covid-19 vaccine.

  • Exercise outdoors in groups of two, who cannot travel further than 5km from their home or local government area.

  • Essential work, or education, where you cannot work or study from home

See here for the full list of reasonable excuses to leave your home in NSW.

In the ACT the reasons to leave home are:

  • To shop for essentials like groceries and medicine and supplies that are essential for personal needs or for vulnerable people.

  • To obtain essential health care, including to undertake a Covid-19 test or receive scheduled vaccination.

  • To exercise outdoors for no more than one hour a day, with one other person, or your household group.

  • To provide essential caregiving services.

  • To undertake essential work.

Further details for the ACT are available here.

What about if I live in an LGA of concern?

A curfew from 9pm to 5am is in place in the 12 Sydney LGAs of highest concern. Previously exercise was limited to one hour a day, but people are now allowed unlimited time for outdoor exercise. Face masks will also be mandatory outdoors, except when exercising.

Garden centres, office supply stores, hardware stores and pet supply stores are closed except for click and collect.

Childcare workers and disability support workers who live or work the areas of concern must have had their first vaccine dose by 30 August.Authorised workers from the areas of concern, or those entering to work need a permit.

Authorised workers who work outside the local government areas of concern, are only permitted to work if rapid antigen testing is implemented at their worksite or the worker has had the first vaccination dose by 30 August.

On Saturday 14 August, the government announced that eligible workers aged 17 years and older who live in the LGAs of concern are eligible for one $320 payment in a four-week period if they get tested for Covid-19 and isolate until a negative test is returned. Those waiting on their test results will get the $320 payment in their bank account within three business days of applying online at Service NSW.

There will also be a new $400 hardship payment payable through the Red Cross for temporary visa holders and others in the community who are ineligible for government financial support.

What about work?

Authorised workers from the LGAs of concern are required to carry a permit from Service NSW declaring that they are an authorised worker and cannot work from home.

Anyone entering an LGA of concern for the purposes of work must carry a worker permit issued by Service NSW.

What if I live outside the ACT but travel across the border for work?

The ACT has declared all of NSW as a Covid-19 hotspot. Residents who lived across the border in one of the following approved postcodes may enter the ACT for essential work and healthcare reasons without an exemption:

  • 2581 Gunning, Collector

  • 2582 Murrumbateman, Yass

  • 2584 Binalong

  • 2611 Uriarra

  • 2618 Wallaroo, areas along the ACT’s north-western edge

  • 2619 Jerrabomberra

  • 2620 Queanbeyan, Googong, Karabar, Sutton, Gundaroo

  • 2621 Bungendore

  • 2623 Captains Flat

  • 2626 Bredbo and Michelago

If you live outside these postcodes you will be required to seek an exemption.

If you live in the ACT but travel into NSW for work, you are expected to follow the rules of the ACT lockdown even when in NSW. You will also have to complete a new declaration form every 72 hours.

How does the NSW single bubble work?

Single bubbles have been introduced for the first time in greater Sydney. People who live alone can nominate one person, a friend or family member, who will be allowed to visit, but it must be the same person for the whole of lockdown. They also cannot be from one of the eight LGAs in hard lockdown.

For single residents in the eight LGAs subject to a hard lockdown, the person they nominate to join their bubble must live within 5kms of their home. From 12.01am on Saturday 21 August people in those LGAs will also be required to register their nominated “singles bubble” with the NSW government.

Can I exercise?

Outdoor exercise is limited to two people. However, members of the same household gathering outdoors for exercise will be allowed to do so in groups larger than two.

People must stay in their local government area or within 5km of home for exercise and outdoor recreation.

The NSW restrictions state that no community sport in greater Sydney, including the Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Wollongong and Shellharbour, should proceed.

In the ACT, you can exercise outdoors for no more than one hour a day, with one other person, or your household group. Gyms are closed and personal training is not permitted inside or outside.

What businesses can open in lockdown?

The following retail premises in greater Sydney must close except for click and collect:

  • Garden centres and plant nurseries

  • Office supplies, hardware and building supplies, landscaping material supplies, rural supplies and pet supplies stores (tradespeople are allowed to shop in-store where relevant).

To remain open are:

  • Supermarkets and grocery stores (including butchers, bakeries, fruit and vegetable stores, liquor stores and fishmongers)

  • Stores that predominantly sell health, medical, maternity and infant supplies

  • Pharmacies and chemists

  • Petrol stations

  • Car hire

  • Banks and financial institutions

  • Agricultural and rural supplies

  • Post offices and newsagents

Employers must allow employees to work from home if the employee is able to do so, failure to do so can result in a fine of up to $10,000.

See here for a full list of which businesses are open and closed.

Business restrictions for the ACT can be found here

What about construction?

Construction work has resumed at “non-occupied sites” outside the hotspot LGAs in NSW. Construction sites must have Covid safety plans.

Tradespeople are allowed to attend homes outside the hotspot LGAs as long as the work can be carried out without contact with the residents.

Construction work in the ACT can continue as usual, but mask rules apply, full details can be found here.

Are schools open?

NSW schools will begin returning to face-to-face learning on 25 October, with a staggered return for different year groups.

Kindergarten and year one students will return to the classroom first, and year 12 students will also be able to increase their time on campus.

Students in year two, six and 11 will return to the classroom from 1 November, with all pupils due back by the second week of November.

Vaccinations for all school staff across all sectors will be mandatory from 8 November. There will also be compulsory mask wearing for teachers and high school students. Primary students will be encouraged to wear masks.

If an area comes out of lockdown settings earlier, students will be able to return to the classroom immediately.

These rules apply in the ACT.

Can weddings go ahead?

People are not currently allowed to attend or hold a wedding in greater Sydney or locked down regional areas. However, from 12.01am on Friday 3 September, weddings will be back on in NSW, provided that they are kept to no more than five guests.

Weddings will remain subject to NSW travel orders. Vaccinations are encouraged but not required in the health orders.

Weddings are allowed in the ACT but with no more than five attendees (including the two persons being married, celebrant and two witnesses).

What about funerals?

Currently, funerals can continue to take place, including in the locked-down areas, with a maximum of 10 people, including the person conducting the service. Attending a funeral is a reasonable excuse to leave home.

In the ACT, the limit is 10 people not including people necessary to conduct the funeral.

Can I have visitors to my house?

If you are in greater Sydney, you cannot have visitors to your house and you must comply with the stay-at-home rules. If you want to visit another person you will need a reasonable excuse to be away from your place of residence. A visitor does not include a person at the place of residence who is there:

  • For work or attend a university or other tertiary education facility;

  • For childcare;

  • As a carer (only one visitor can enter another residence to fulfil carers’ responsibilities or provide care or assistance, or for compassionate reasons);

  • To give effect to arrangements between parents and children under 18 or their siblings;

  • To assist a person to move places of residence;

  • To avoid an injury or serious risk of harm;

  • Because of an emergency;

  • To view or inspect property to lease or purchase it.

In the ACT, no more than two people are permitted to visit another household, but only for the approved reasons outlined above under stay at home or for compassionate purposes.

Intimate partner visits are allowed. People who live alone can identify one other household that they can visit or receive visits from.

What are the restrictions at hospitality and entertainment venues?

In greater Sydney, the Central Coast, Blue Mountains, Wollongong and other locked down areas of NSW food businesses can open for takeaway only. Entertainment facilities, such as theatres, cinemas, music halls, concert halls and dance halls and amusement centres, such as places to play billiards, pool, pinball machines or video games are all closed.

Outside of those areas, the one person per 4 sq metre rule has been re-introduced for all indoor and outdoor settings, including weddings and funerals.

Drinking while standing at indoor venues is also not allowed and outdoor seated events are limited to only 50% seated capacity.

Singing by audiences at indoor shows or by congregants at indoor places of worship is also banned, and dancing is not allowed at indoor hospitality venues or nightclubs. However, dancing is allowed at weddings for the bridal party only (no more than 20 people).

Can I travel interstate?

People in greater Sydney, the Central Coast, Blue Mountains and Wollongong cannot travel.

People in the ACT can only travel if they meet another jurisdiction’s travel requirements prior to entering.

Anyone who has been in the ACT in the past 14 days and is now in NSW is expected to follow the rules of the ACT lockdown for the duration of that lockdown – and also comply with any NSW lockdown rules, if they are in a locked down area.

Anyone who has been in the ACT in the past 14 days and travels to NSW must complete a declaration form. For people who travel frequently between jurisdictions, a new declaration form is required every 72 hours.

People outside of greater Sydney also cannot enter greater Sydney for the purposes of exercise or outdoor recreation. People can only enter greater Sydney for a funeral or memorial service, or for obtaining goods or services if those goods or services are not reasonably available outside of greater Sydney.

A person over 18 who is leaving greater Sydney must also carry evidence showing their address and produce it to a police officer on request.

Other states and territories have closed their borders to parts of NSW and the ACT. Each state and territory is updating guidance on travel rules individually:

What about public gatherings?

From 13 September, households in Sydney LGAs of concern will be allowed an extra hour outside, as long as the adults have received two doses of vaccination.

Outside of those areas, from 13 September, adults who have been double vaccinated will be able to gather in groups of five, outside, within the 5km limit.

Until then, outdoor public gatherings are limited in greater Sydney, the Central Coast, Blue Mountains and Wollongong and other areas in lockdown to two people. In these areas, you must not participate in an outdoor public gathering unless you are:

  • Working or attending a university or other tertiary education facility

  • Providing care or assistance to vulnerable persons

  • Gathering with your household

  • Gathering for a funeral

  • Providing emergency assistance to a person

  • Fulfilling a legal obligation

  • Moving home or moving your business to a new premises

See here for a list of exemptions to these rules.

Rules for the ACT are similar but check for detail.

Outside of the areas in lockdown, up to 200 people can gather in an outdoor public place such as a park, reserve, beach, garden or public space.

Outdoor seated events are limited to 50% seated capacity.

What are the rules around masks?

From 12.01am Monday, 23 August, the following additional rule will also be introduced for Greater Sydney (including regional NSW, until 28 August):

Mask wearing will be mandatory when outside your home, except when exercising. In the ACT, face masks must be worn at all times upon leaving home, including in workplaces, and by all people aged 12 and above.

See the full list of what you can do in NSW at the NSW Health website.

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  • Due to the unprecedented and ongoing nature of the coronavirus outbreak, this article is being regularly updated to ensure that it reflects the current situation at the date of publication. Any significant corrections made to this or previous versions of the article will be footnoted in line with Guardian editorial policy.

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Dr. Jerome Adams: Navigating coronavirus during Labor Day travel – WISH-TV | Indianapolis News | Indiana Weather

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Getting to a destination isn’t the only concern of travelers this Labor Day weekend.

Staying safe during the coronavirus pandemic is another.

Dr. Jerome Adams, the WISH-TV medical expert and former U.S. surgeon general, shares his advice in the video.

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How to navigate Germany’s coronavirus restrictions

Navigating “Corona” rules: As in the United States, Germany’s states have different coronavirus protocols and social norms. If you travel throughout the country, expect the rules to shift. Remember, too, that protocols can change rapidly, depending on local infection rates. In general, regulations relating to the coronavirus — called “Corona” in Germany — remain stricter than those in the United States. Unless you’re renting a private house and sticking to outdoor spaces when sightseeing, expect to see these three words a lot: “geimpft, getestet, genesen.” They translate to “vaccinated, tested, recovered.” You must meet one of these criteria to dine indoors at many restaurants and participate in some indoor attractions.

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U.S. warns against travel to Israel, Portugal and Spain as delta variant fuels coronavirus outbreaks

Here are some significant developments:

  • European lawmakers and business groups voiced mounting criticism of continued U.S. restrictions on international travel. As vaccinated American tourists are traveling back and forth for their summer holidays in Paris or Rome, European allies or partners of the Biden administration are finding it increasingly difficult to defend the U.S. approach.
  • Officials in Tokyo reported a record for coronavirus infections Tuesday, registering 2,848 new cases, its highest daily count ever and four times the average at the end of June. Even as case numbers spiked in the city, however, the situation inside the Olympic bubble appeared to be much more under control.
  • After the president of Tajikistan’s sister died in the hospital, reportedly of covid-19, her three sons attacked and beat up the country’s health minister and a senior doctor, according to local media. The reports cast a rare spotlight on the sudden surge of cases in this Central Asian country that for a time denied it had any infections.
  • Fresh coronavirus outbreaks are forcing factory shutdowns in countries such as Vietnam and Bangladesh, aggravating supply chain disruptions that could leave some U.S. retailers with empty shelves as consumers begin their back-to-school shopping.
  • Iran, one of the pandemic’s hardest-hit nations, reported its largest single-day increase in new coronavirus cases Tuesday, recording nearly 35,000 infections and 357 deaths. The recent surge has been blamed on the more contagious delta variant. About 3 percent of the population is fully vaccinated, according to publicly available figures.
  • Chinese researchers found that antibodies produced by the Sinovac coronavirus vaccine fell below a key threshold about six months after the second dose, raising concerns about waning immunity as new variants spread.

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