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Coronavirus: Essential News

The most important news about the COVID-19 outbreak in Illinois, available to everyone, no subscription required.

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Masks required in Illinois driver’s license facilities starting next week as COVID-19 infections hit 12-week high

Face coverings will also be required in the Illinois State Capitol Building as COVID-19 cases jump across the nation.

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Lollapalooking good? Despite case spike, Chicago in ‘good control’ heading into music festival, city’s top doc says

"I don’t want there to be unnecessary panic at this point. I just want to make sure people get vaccinated," Chicago Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said.

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Masks? Again? New CDC guidelines urge covered faces in some suburbs, but Chicago still considered ‘lower risk’

New masking guidelines laid out Tuesday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention added the latest web of regulations for Illinois residents to follow, varying county by county. And masks are also now recommended for anyone inside schools.

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Lollapalunacy? Experts split on whether jammed music fest is ‘bad idea’ or ‘basically OK’ as COVID-19 cases quadruple 

"Lolla is too crowded. That’s the bottom line," said University of Chicago epidemiologist Dr. Emily Landon. "A bunch of people are going to get COVID at Lolla, but a lot of people are getting it from other places now, too."

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Mask pit? Pritzker says he’ll be at Lollapalooza despite COVID-19 spike: ‘If you’re vaccinated, it’s safe’

"It’s up to individuals to make a decision about whether they want to be in a large group," Gov. J.B. Pritzker said. "I would recommend to people that if they’re going to be jammed together, please wear a mask."

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‘Step up’ or step back? Lightfoot sounds COVID-19 alarm as cases jump 70%: ‘Get a vaccine today’

The COVID-19 Delta variant is now estimated to account for almost half the new city cases, and if the variant is allowed to fester, more restrictions eventually could be in store, the mayor warned.

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The ‘pandemic of the unvaccinated’ affects all of us

Legions of the "vaccine resistant" have ready access to the shot. But instead of listening to public health experts who know best, they choose to believe dangerous anti-vaccine nonsense.

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Delta dawn? Variant cases creep up as 13 Illinois counties hit COVID-19 warning level

Average daily cases have jumped more than 50% and the Delta variant is accounting for more of them, data shows.

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Mass exodus? Last Cook County mass vaccination sites closing next week

"Our focus is now on changing hearts and minds, educating and encouraging those who have not yet been vaccinated to get their vaccination," said Cook County Health CEO Israel Rocha.

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Illinois’ COVID-19 infection rate — while still low — doubles in two weeks: ‘We could easily backslide’

The state’s latest spike — while still small — has been driven largely by a rise in cases in downstate counties with lower vaccination rates, areas that experts say are ripe for transmission of the more infectious Delta variant.

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Chicagoan wins Illinois’ first $1 million vaccine lottery drawing

Winners have a week to come forward. The state’s next drawing is Monday.

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First Illinois vaccine lottery winners to be drawn Thursday

It’s the first of nine weekly drawings being held throughout the summer as an incentive to get more people to roll up their sleeves.

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Illinois reports no new COVID-19 deaths for first time since March 2020: ‘Thank god for the vaccines’

The Illinois Department of Public Health reported no new COVID-19 fatalities Monday, which hadn’t happened previously since March 16, 2020, a span of 476 days.

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Delta variant of COVID-19 ready to ravage unvaccinated in Illinois: ‘Some areas are going to blow up’

The most infectious variant of the coronavirus yet is expected to dominate Chicago and the rest of Illinois within months. What makes it so dangerous? Local experts weigh in.

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6 million Illinois residents now fully vaccinated against COVID-19

With daily shot averages dwindling and more infectious coronavirus variants gaining traction, experts are urging unvaccinated residents to roll up their sleeves. While the state hasn’t seen a spike in cases since reopening two weeks ago, outbreaks are still popping up. 

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Doses and dinner at your door? City offers in-home shots to all Chicagoans — plus GrubHub gift card

Anyone with a Chicago address can now have a COVID-19 vaccine administered right in their home and get a $50 gift card. "Anything that keeps people talking about vaccine is a good thing," said Chicago Public Health chief Dr. Allison Arwady.

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102 new Illinois COVID-19 cases, lowest count since first week of pandemic

With two thirds of Illinois residents 12 or older now vaccinated, the virus is spreading as slowly as it has since experts started tracking it reliably.

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Pritzker announces lottery program for COVID-19 vaccine recipients; $1M drawing set for July 8

It’s the latest incentive being offered by the state to entice more people to get their shots; those who have been vaccinated will automatically be entered. 

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Illinois records fewest new coronavirus cases since March 2020; state to end daily updates

The preliminary seven-day infection rate was 0.8% as of Monday, another record low since experts started tracking the metric in May 2020.

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298 new cases of coronavirus, 11 deaths reported Sunday in Illinois

The cases were diagnosed among 35,598 new tests, holding the average 7-day statewide positivity rate at its record low 0.9%.

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268 new cases of coronavirus, 15 deaths reported day after state moves to Phase 5 of reopening

With 52% if Illinois adults vaccinated, cases of the coronavirus continued to drop as life starts to return to normal.

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Shaves for shots as ‘Vax & Relax’ brings COVID-19 vaccine to Englewood residents: ‘We need this so bad’

Public health officials tried to draw out more residents for COVID-19 vaccinations with free haircuts and Six Flags tickets in Englewood, which has the city’s lowest vaccination rate.

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City ‘vaccine ambassadors’ going door-to-door to boost rates on South, West sides as Chicago nears reopening

About 52% of all Chicagoans have gotten at least one shot, but rates are much higher in whiter, wealthier neighborhoods, especially downtown, where all residents have been covered in a few ZIP codes.

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Power shot? Pritzker injects COVID-19 vaccine lottery talk into mix as daily inoculation rate plummets

Gov. J.B. Pritzker has already offered up free Six Flags tickets and shooting clays to try to get more shots into arms, On Wednesday, he signed a law that allows bars to dole out a free drink as an incentive.  Now he said state lawmakers "paved the way" for a potential lottery when they approved his $42 billion budget this week.

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Fewest coronavirus cases in a day since first days of stay-at-home order

Chicago has lifted its emergency travel restrictions for travelers from all states as Illinois’ pandemic position improves — just 401 new coronavirus cases and an all-time low average seven-day testing positivity rate of 1.6%. 

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State reports 521 new cases of coronavirus, 33 deaths

Monday’s number of new cases was the lowest reported daily case total since June 22, when 462 were reported.

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802 new Illinois COVID-19 cases as infection numbers keep improving

Illinois has logged fewer than 1,000 new cases on all but one day over the past week. Previously, that hadn’t happened since early July.

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COVID-19 vaccinations now outnumber confirmed Illinois cases 5 to 1

Still, with under 41% of the state population fully vaccinated and shot demand dropping precipitously, officials say a lot more work needs to be done to bring the pandemic to a close.

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More mass vaccination sites shutting down as COVID-19 positivity rate dips below 2% for first time ever

Three suburban mass vax sites are closing as officials try to target communities where inoculation rates have lagged, shifting to "a granular focus on making vaccines as comfortable, convenient, and accessible as possible."

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Illinois’ COVID-19 testing positivity rate sinks to lowest point ever — yeah, ever

The positivity rate has illustrated the ebbs and devastating flows of case spikes and falls throughout a chaotic year. In the early weeks of the pandemic, the state’s average figure soared past 20%, then eased down to about 2.5% last summer. By mid-fall it was skyrocketing again, up to 13.2%. It’s now down to 2% — the lowest it’s sunk since experts started tracking it. 

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808 new Illinois coronavirus infections, smallest daily caseload in 10 weeks

Fewer people are being tested each day, but the average positivity rate is back down to a record low.

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43 more Illinois coronavirus deaths

While infection rates keep falling toward record lows, the state’s average daily death rate has inched upward this month.