Chicago Vaccination Mandate, Vaccines for Kids Under 5 – NBC Chicago

Chicago’s top doctor explains why some people get COVID-19 while others seem to avoid the virus.

Meanwhile, spring and summer festivals are making a big comeback, many to “almost their pre-pandemic size and scope”.

Here’s what you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic in Illinois today:

‘Never COVID Cohort:’ Chicago’s top doc on whether genetics can help guard against serious disease

The question of how some people seem to avoid contracting COVID-19 better than others has fascinated scientists throughout the pandemic, and Chicago’s top doctor cited a growing body of research that suggests it might There are various factors at play when determining who gets sick from the virus and who doesn’t.

Dr. Allison Arwady, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, addressed ongoing research at various levels to determine whether differences in immune systems and genetics can potentially offer more or less protection against COVID in different populations. .

While she said the idea of ​​a “never-COVID cohort” isn’t entirely accurate, preferring instead to focus on the idea that some people might have more resistance to serious illnesses, she said. that many factors were being researched on this front. .

“We’ve learned a lot about immunity, and there’s a lot we don’t know,” she said during a question-and-answer session on Thursday. “Some of the most interesting basic science research (circles) four or five different hypotheses that you can measure in someone’s blood that can tell you that person is at higher risk of having a more severe COVID outcome.”

Learn more here.

Chicago could lift vaccine requirement ‘shortly’ if downward trends continue: Arwady

Chicago’s vaccination mandate in place at bars, restaurants and gyms could be lifted “shortly” if the city continues to see COVID-19 measures drop, according to Chicago’s top doctor.

As the city sees coronavirus cases, deaths and hospitalizations decline rapidly, Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said during a Facebook Live event Thursday that she hears of people asking when the vaccine requirement might be removed.

“Not next week, I’ll tell you,” Arwady said. “But if we keep seeing the drops like we did, it wouldn’t be so long from now I think.”

Learn more here.

Taste of Chicago, Air and Water Show will return to ‘pre-pandemic size and scope’

Taste of Chicago and the Air and Water Show, among other spring and summer festivals, are set to make a comeback in 2022, many at “almost their pre-pandemic size and scale,” venue officials announced Thursday. city.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events have announced the dates for several notable festivals and special events taking place in the city over the coming months.

“Chicago’s spring and summer programming is enjoyed by our residents and strengthens our tourism, hospitality and creative industries,” said Lightfoot. “I’m thrilled that we can bring back our iconic music and food festivals, along with hundreds of other events. It will help bring a sense of normalcy back to our city and revitalize the local economies of our neighborhoods.

Full list here.

Illinois health officials begin preparations as Pfizer seeks approval for children under 5 to receive COVID vaccine

As Pfizer submits data Tuesday to the Food and Drug Administration to allow emergency use authorization of its COVID vaccine for children under five, Illinois health officials are scrambling to prepare to administer these injections as soon as the green light is given. given.

According to a press release issued by the Illinois Department of Public Health, officials are working to prepare for the likely event when the FDA will authorize COVID vaccine doses for children ages 6 months to 4 years. .

“We look forward to the availability of a COVID-19 vaccine for our youngest population, once it has been reviewed by the CDC,” IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said in a statement. . “As we move toward coexistence with COVID-19, it’s important that we are able to offer as much protection as possible against COVID-19-related hospitalizations for all ages.”

Learn more here.

More details on version of COVID variant now found in Illinois, Wisconsin

A version of the omicron variant dubbed “stealth omicron” is being watched by scientists and health experts around the world, and has now been detected in both Illinois and Wisconsin, according to health officials.

According to Northwestern University officials, the first case of the BA.2 omicron subvariant was detected in Illinois on Monday. The first case in Wisconsin was also reported on Monday, according to Milwaukee County health officials.

This version of the coronavirus is widely considered stealthier than the original omicron version because particular genetic traits make it a little harder to detect on PCR tests.

Learn more here.

Illinois Reports First Case of BA.2 “Stealth Omicron” Subvariant

The first case of the BA.2 omicron subvariant, often referred to as “stealth omicron,” has been detected in Illinois, Northwestern University officials announced Monday.

The case was discovered by Northwestern Medicine’s Center for Pathogen Genomics and Microbial Evolution (CPGME) over the weekend, according to a press release from university officials.

The person who contracted the variant was tested for COVID-19 on January 18, but additional information about the person, including their location in Illinois, was unavailable. It’s not the first case to be detected in the Midwest, as a Milwaukee County health official said Monday that the subvariant has also been reported in Wisconsin.

Learn more here.

Chicago Public Schools Shorten Isolation and Quarantine for Students and Staff

Chicago Public Schools will reduce their recommended quarantine and isolation periods starting Tuesday, in accordance with current COVID-19 guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

According to the CPS and health officials, children and staff who test positive, regardless of their vaccination status, will be required to self-isolate for five days instead of the previously advised 10 days.

According to the CPS, the move to a five-day quarantine will impact students differently depending on their vaccination status, symptoms and whether an infection has been confirmed.

Learn more here.

Free COVID test kits: How Illinois residents can get them and where

There are now several ways for some Illinois residents to order free COVID test kits, but your options depend on where you live when new state and federal programs begin.

In select ZIP codes in 14 Illinois counties, thousands of rapid home COVID tests are being made available for free, the Illinois Department of Public Health announced last week.

This is in addition to a government program launched earlier this month for all Americans.

Here’s what to know about how and where state residents can get free COVID test kits.

Incubation period: how long should you quarantine with a COVID infection?

As coronavirus cases continue to spread in Chicago and Illinois and authorities update guidelines on the incubation period, how long should you quarantine with an infection?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently changed its guidelines, changing the timing of isolation and quarantine, as some experts say the period when people are most contagious is earlier.

Here’s what we know.

Residents of these Illinois ZIP codes can get free at-home COVID tests from IDPH

Across 14 counties in Illinois, thousands of rapid home COVID tests are being made available free of charge, the Illinois Department of Public Health announced Friday.

According to the department, 225,000 test kits are being made available through Project Access COVID Tests for residents of select ZIP codes.

Residents of eligible communities can order the tests through AccessCovidTests.org, where they can sign up for free home delivery. Each household will then receive five tests, or a kit, within two weeks of ordering. Shipping is free, IDPH noted.

List of eligible postal codes here.

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