clock menu more-arrow no yes

Coronavirus: Essential News

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

Filed under:

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.

Filed under:

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.

Filed under:

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.’

Filed under:

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.

Filed under:

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.

Filed under:

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.

Filed under:

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."

Filed under:

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.

Filed under:

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.

Filed under:

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."

Filed under:

Why N95, KN95 masks are much more effective than cloth versions

Along with vaccines and testing, masks remain one of the CDC’s three main tools to fight the coronavirus.

Filed under:

Help is on the way? Pritzker sends thousands of contract health care workers to hospitals swamped with unvaccinated patients

More Illinoisans are testing positive for COVID-19 each day than ever before — an average of 32,501 per day over the last week — and "unfortunately, right now, today, the hospitals are bearing the brunt," Illinois Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said. The spike is also resulting in more deaths, with 144 on Wednesday alone, the worst daily toll in over a year.

Filed under:

Mayor Lightfoot says she has COVID-19: ‘I am experiencing cold-like symptoms but otherwise feel fine’

"I will continue to work from home while following the CDC guidelines for isolation," the mayor said in a statement. "This is an urgent reminder for folks to get vaccinated and boosted as it’s the only way to beat this pandemic."

Filed under:

Chicago’s COVID-19 surge ‘flattening?’ City’s top doc sees signs of ‘potential relief’ — but warns Omicron wave is ‘extremely not over’

Nearly 4,800 Chicagoans are still testing positive each day on average — about double any previous case surge the city has seen — but that rate is down about 8% from last week, according to city data.

Filed under:

Up, up and astray? If COVID-19 surge doesn’t peak soon, weary health care workers fear it ‘would be absolutely cataclysmic’

"We haven’t peaked yet. We’re filling up more and more beds," said Dr. Sajal Tanna of Northwestern Memorial Hospital. "Everybody is stretched incredibly thin. I honestly don’t know if there is much more room to stretch."

Filed under:

More suburban kids hospitalized with severe COVID-19 cases as surge breaks records: ‘We just don’t know the implications’

The rise in hospitalized children comes as Illinois set another record for total new COVID-19 cases Thursday, with more than 44,000 reported statewide. The state also saw 104 more viral deaths, the most in a day in nearly a year.

Filed under:

Preparing for the worst: Cook County deploys trailers to hospitals to handle looming surge in COVID-19 deaths

More than 250 Cook County residents died of COVID-19 last week, the worst weekly toll seen in the Chicago area since vaccines were introduced. Over the past seven days, the entire state has averaged more than 25,000 COVID-19 infections. That’s roughly like the population of suburban Melrose Park testing positive each day.

Filed under:

Close COVID contact: Pritzker to work remotely after more than 15 minutes near state worker who tested positive 

The exposure in Chicago happened as state lawmakers convene in Springfield for a legislative session that has already been shortened due to the statewide surge in coronavirus cases.

Filed under:

Three ICU beds left for 800,000 people? COVID-19 patients swamping Will, Kankakee Co. hospitals

Southern Illinois hospitals — which were overrun late last summer during the initial Delta variant wave — are also approaching capacity once again.

Filed under:

Record number of COVID-19 patients fill Illinois hospital beds: ‘This is largely a problem of the unvaccinated’

"With the holidays only a week or two in the rearview mirror, I fear the climb will continue as the virus incubates in those who were exposed at the end of December," Gov. J.B. Pritzker said.

Filed under:

Illinois obliterates daily COVID-19 case record with more than 30K positive tests

With cases, hospitalizations and deaths rising rapidly, officials are urging more residents to get vaccinated and boosted.

Filed under:

‘Be smart’ on New Year’s, Lightfoot pleads as COVID-19 cases skyrocket

With infections soaring to record-breaking heights, Chicagoans "have to do everything that they can to make sure that they protect themselves," Mayor Lori Lightfoot said.

Filed under:

FOP president demands CPD change death designation of Chicago police officer who died of COVID-19

John Catanzara, president of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 7, released a video on Monday saying the department is "playing games" with the current designation of Jose "Joey" Huerta’s death.

Filed under:

As COVID cases rise, Chicago doctor hopes for a decline in January

An infectious disease expert says holiday gatherings may prolong the recent surge in cases as the state reports hospitalizations continue to rise.

Filed under:

Coalition of restaurants call on Lightfoot to postpone new COVID-19 mandate

Mary Kay Tuzi, owner of Twin Anchors at 1655 N. Sedgwick St., said restaurants have been unfairly targeted throughout the pandemic and have borne the brunt of COVID-19 mandates.

Filed under:

CDC shortens COVID isolation, quarantine recommendations for all

Officials said the guidance is in keeping with growing evidence that people with COVID-19 are most infectious in the two days before and three days after symptoms develop.

Filed under:

Omicron variant forces cancellation of Kwanzaa celebration at Malcolm X College

Cases of coronavirus in the city are up 85% over the previous week, according to the most recent data available from the Chicago Department of Public Health. That’s an average of over 3,796 new cases daily.

Filed under:

Chicagoans welcome new COVID-19 vaccine requirement; business owners more wary

The new measure, taking effect Jan. 3, will require restaurants, bars and gyms to check patrons’ vaccination card and ID.

Filed under:

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.

Filed under:

Los brotes de COVID en Illinois podrían convertir la Navidad en una temporada letal

Las unidades de cuidados intensivos están a casi al 91% de capacidad en todo el estado.

Filed under:

Illinois’ COVID surge rages on

‘This is setting up to be a very deadly COVID Christmas and New Year’s.’

Filed under:

Illinois’ 2nd confirmed Omicron case identified in suburbs

COVID-19’s latest "variant of concern" has likely been in the state for weeks, experts say, and more cases are expected to be confirmed soon.

Filed under:

Daily Illinois COVID-19 deaths up 46% since last week

COVID-19 deaths can be expected to keep rising because hospitals are treating the most coronavirus patients they’ve seen since late January.

Filed under:

Omicron is upon us: Illinois’ first case of latest COVID-19 variant confirmed in Chicago resident

The person who contracted the variant case had been fully vaccinated and boosted, officials said.

Filed under:

COVID-19 claims 78 more Illinois lives, most in a day since February: ‘Things are not looking that great’

Average daily case counts have more than tripled across the state over the past month, and now coronavirus deaths are back on the rise.

Filed under:

Illinois COVID-19 cases spike nearly 50% in a week, 150% since last month

Coronavirus positivity rates and hospitalizations have also more than doubled over the past month during the fifth surge of the pandemic.