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Coronavirus

The latest news about the novel coronavirus COVID-19 with a focus on its impact on Chicago and Illinois.

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What you need to know about getting a COVID-19 vaccine in Chicago

Check out answers to frequently asked questions, including: Where can I get one? Can I go to a pharmacy? How long do I have to wait?

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As Chicago requires COVID vaccination proof at more places, here’s what you need to know

Tips to help you store and present your proof of vaccination now that the city has issued a requirement it be presented to get into bars, gyms and other locations.

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Omicron’s exponential rise followed by ‘exponential decay,’ but COVID deaths keep mounting

The surge is still being felt sharply in intensive care units across Illinois, which are still 88% full. And with four days left in the month, the state has suffered almost as many COVID deaths in January (2,651) as it did over the previous three months combined (2,941).

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Has COVID destroyed our attention spans?

Pandemic fatigue is a real thing, leaving people demotivated and exhausted with regular tasks.

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Live map of coronavirus cases by zip code

Track the latest confirmed COVID-19 cases by zip code with this state map, updated daily with public health department data.

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Live map of Illinois coronavirus cases

Track the latest confirmed COVID-19 cases across the state with this state map, updated daily with public health department data.

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IDPH investigating 2 more COVID-19 testing companies

Northshore Clinical Laboratories and O’Hare Clinical Labs are being investigated amid complaints about long waits for test results among other problems.

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Protesting Joe Rogan, Neil Young asks for and gets Spotify to remove his music

Rocker says the comedian’s popular podcast on the streaming service is presenting "grossly unfactual information" about COVID-19.

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Omicron still ominous: ‘Rapid decrease’ in most COVID-19 metrics stirs hope, but Illinois death rate sparks flashbacks

While deaths "still are quite high" in Chicago at a rate of about 19 per day, other numbers suggest relief could be on the way, Chicago Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said.

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Two years — and five surges — after Illinois’ first COVID-19 case, latest metrics ‘headed in the right direction’

Although patients hospitalized with COVID-19 remained high at 5,238 occupied beds — a daily total reached last year on only a handful of days — it still meant 2,100 fewer patients hospitalized with the virus than when Illinois hit its record high on Jan. 12.

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CPS’ top education, health officials leaving as CEO announces major shakeup in leadership team

Chicago Public Schools’ Interim chief education officer Maurice Swinney is resigning and chief health officer Ken Fox is retiring, both effective in February.

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How to get free N95 masks from the government starting this week

Pharmacies in Chicago and the suburbs that will have them include Walgreens, CVS, Walmart and Costco, A Walgreens spokesperson said Friday they’ll be available ‘at select Walgreens locations nationwide while supplies last.’

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Embattled suburban COVID testing company searched by FBI: report

Center for COVID Control, based in Rolling Meadows, is under investigation in multiple states amid complaints about long waits for test results, among other problems.

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‘The need gets larger and larger’

Overtaxed social service agencies struggle to cope with COVID-19 and help the city’s most vulnerable residents.

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CPS says change in COVID case reporting wasn’t intended to mislead public

A CPS dad who has been tracking COVID data pointed out on social media this week that thanks to discrepancies in the district’s figures, the number of infections at individual schools appeared lower than was actually the case.

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Omicron anguish: Cook County records 14,000th COVID-19 death as worst surge wanes — but fatalities rise

The state has averaged 107 deaths per day over the past week, a stretch that saw Cook County lose a total of 425 residents to the virus — the worst week since mid-November 2020.

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Troubled suburban COVID testing company shut down ‘for the foreseeable future’: AG

Center for COVID Control, based in Rolling Meadows, is under investigation in multiple states amid complaints about long waits for test results, among other problems.

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Adele postpones Las Vegas residency due to COVID pandemic impact on crew

In a video message posted on social media, a tearful Adele said: "I’m so sorry but my show ain’t ready."

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Peak may be over, but pain is not: Illinois suffers third-worst daily COVID death toll of pandemic as Omicron surge slows

While cases and hospitalizations are falling, Illinois is still losing 109 lives on average each day. About 14 of every 109 live in the city, the vast majority unvaccinated. "Let me be very clear: There are still more than 200 Chicagoans being newly admitted [to hospitals] every day with COVID-19," said Chicago Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady.

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COVID-19 testing site to open at DePaul’s Loop campus

The site will be open on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., in the DePaul Center, 333 S. State St.

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Website for free at-home COVID-19 testing runs into some ordering issues

A "small percentage of orders" was impacted, a Postal Service spokesman said.

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Precipitous peak: Omicron surge shows signs of easing — but officials warn in weeks ahead ‘hundreds more may die’

"We are not out of the woods, and we need people to be very careful over these next few weeks," Chicago Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said. Gov. J.B. Pritzker observed, "I am cautiously optimistic about this decline, but there are an awful lot of people still battling for their lives in hospitals across Illinois."

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CPS sees huge spike in students signed up for COVID testing since teachers walked out

After a dismal start to the district’s program, the parents of 82,683 children have now consented to regular testing, CPS CEO Pedro Martinez said Wednesday.

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Suburban Chicago COVID testing company sued by Minnesota officials

Center for COVID Control, incorporated in 2020, has been a target of scrutiny in multiple states.

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Light at the end of the tunnel? Drop in COVID-19 deaths, hospitalizations leaves some experts ‘cautiously optimistic’

Nearly 700 fewer COVID-19 patients were hospitalized in Illinois Monday night than the state’s all-time record of 7,380 set on Jan. 12. Deaths dipped, too. Although hopeful, Northwestern Medicine’s Dr. Sajal Tanna warned, "I wouldn’t let my guard down."

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Cook County Health reopens mass vaccination site in Forest Park

Iliana Mora, chief administration officer for Cook County Health’s Ambulatory Services, said the Forest Park facility alone is equipped to give out 1,300 doses a day.

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Lightfoot back in action — with a mask — one week after COVID-19 diagnosis

The mayor said COVID-19 "kind of felt like a cold — a bad cold." Lightfoot said she "luckily recovered quickly" and feels strong enough to attend the annual meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors in Washington, D.C.

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How to get free COVID-19 tests as federal testing website launches

Starting Tuesday, the website COVIDTests.gov is providing tests at no cost, including no shipping fee.

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Here’s who’s dying from COVID-19 during the Omicron surge — two years into the pandemic

Blacks in Chicago — as well as whites over 60 in the suburbs — are dying from the coronavirus at higher rates, a WBEZ analysis found. Also, the unvaccinated are 22 times more likely to die than those who’ve gotten shots.

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Supreme Court ruling against Biden’s workplace vaccine mandate is a loss for public health

The six conservative justices wrote that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration exceeded its authority when it imposed the mandate as a "blunt instrument" last fall. Blunt instruments are sometimes needed.

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COVID-19 now killing 105 Illinoisans per day: ‘This is going to hurt for a long time’

Even though Omicron generally seems to cause milder infections and doctors have gotten better at treating COVID, the sheer volume of cases means there is more agony on the way, experts say. "We’ve been on this ride before. We know how this works," University of Chicago’s Dr. Emily Landon said.

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Keep young people in youth prisons safe from COVID-19

They are locked up and away from their families during a global pandemic without autonomy for their living environment or the ability to maintain social distance.

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After Supreme Court loss on COVID-19 vaccine mandate, Biden administration regroups

At a time when hospitals are being overrun and record numbers of people are getting infected with the omicron variant, the administration hopes states and companies will order their own vaccinate-or-test requirements.

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For Chicago’s frustrated restaurant workers, life will never be the same

Three longtime food industry employees try new paths after months of anxiety, stress and periods of joblessness. They’re hoping the shifts pay off.

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Four Omicron myths: Dispelling misguided and ‘flat out harmful’ theories about the still dangerous variant — and that part is no myth

With coronavirus hospitalizations at an all-time high across Illinois, experts say it’s critical for residents to continue following basic precautions — and to stop dismissing the most infectious variant yet as "mild."

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16 businesses, including 10 restaurants, cited for violating city’s proof of vaccination order

Between Jan. 3, the day the order took effect, and Wednesday, the Chicago Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection issued a total of 32 citations to the businesses.