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Health

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

Americans will soon be able to get free N95 masks, which provide the best protection, far more than cloth masks, through a federal government program. Here’s what Chicagoans need to know.

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Stronger evidence links multiple sclerosis to Epstein-Barr virus that causes mononucleosis

A Harvard study suggests the infection could set some on the path to developing MS. The findings ‘strongly suggest’ the virus is ‘a cause and not a consequence of MS.’

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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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City delays decision on Southeast Side metal shredder permit

An assessment of the public health impact of rebranded General Iron operation has been slowed by COVID-related delays, the city said Tuesday.

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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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As opioid overdose deaths hit new record, pressure grows for safe places to inject drugs in Chicago

The toll from opioids has been increasing since 2015, when there were 647 overdose deaths in Cook County. This past year’s total is expected to be more than 2,000 once all tests are back.

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Chicago business groups welcome Supreme Court decision to halt Biden’s vaccine mandate although some will still require shots

But the court upheld the administration’s mandate for health care workers.

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Medicare limits coverage of $28,000-a-year Alzheimer’s drug

The initial determination from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services means that for Medicare to pay, patients taking Biogen’s Aduhelm medication will have to be part of clinical trials to assess the drug’s effectiveness in slowing the progression of early-stage dementia as well as its safety.

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Chicago’s top public health official touts family vaccine clinics at City Colleges

The weekend clinics — operated out of the City Colleges of Chicago — are open at least through February.

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mRNA technology used in COVID vaccines might one day treat heart disease, study suggests

Though the Penn research involved mice, the scientists said it might one day offer hope of a treatment for millions of people whose heart muscle is damaged by scar tissue.

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Traffic pollution linked to nearly 2 million new cases of childhood asthma a year, study finds

But experts say unfortunately that isn’t anything new. ‘Air pollution continues to be a major cause of asthma among children around the world,’ an author of a new study said.

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California the first state to require health insurers to cover at-home tests for sexually transmitted infections

By making it easier and cheaper for Californians to self-administer tests at homes, officials hope to ease the stigma some feel when seeking care.

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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.

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Record weekly jump in COVID-19 cases worldwide but fewer deaths: WHO

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the agency was certain that was an underestimate because of a backlog in testing around the year-end holidays.

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US advisers endorse Pfizer COVID boosters for younger teens

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention makes recommendations for vaccinations and on Wednesday, its advisers voted that a booster was safe for the younger teens and should be offered to them once enough time — five months — has passed since their last shot.

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NorthShore, Edward-Elmhurst hospital groups complete merger

The merger will combine nine mostly suburban hospitals under one corporate umbrella and create a network of more than 300 clinics.

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You’re not fine and neither am I

COVID-19 grinds on and on and on and on.

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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.

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FDA expands Pfizer boosters for 12- to 15-year-olds

Boosters already are recommended for everyone 16 and older, and federal regulators on Monday decided they’re also warranted for 12- to 15-year-olds once enough time has passed since their last dose.

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Minimum wage hike, pets in public housing among new changes to Illinois laws

A law allowing public housing tenants to keep pets is the result of Senate Bill 154, by Sen. Linda Holmes, D-Aurora, and Rep. Stephanie Kifowit, D-Oswego.

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Ask the Doctors: Immune system, age make a difference in UTI symptoms

A urinary tract infection that goes untreated can lead to serious problems, such as kidney damage or even sepsis. These so-called "silent" UTIs can present a grave threat to the health of older adults.

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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.

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Citing communities rise in COVID-19 cases, Rush, NorthShore limiting visitors

The new policy takes effect Dec. 27.

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Michigan schools try cognitive therapy-based programs to help ‘overwhelmed’ kids

In a school year that was supposed to be a return to normal, a Michigan school district has launched an educational program based on cognitive behavior therapy.

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Decades after WWII vet dies, West Side children’s hospital receives $90,000 from him

When Ernest Ulrich died in 1999, he left behind an estate of $1.5 million. His will asked for the money to be donated to nonprofits, including Shriners Hospitals for Children. His final wishes were executed at the hospital Wednesday.

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Pfizer pill becomes 1st US-authorized home COVID treatment

The drug, Paxlovid, is a faster, cheaper way to treat early COVID-19 infections, though initial supplies will be extremely limited. All of the previously authorized drugs against the disease require an IV or an injection.

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Biden pledges 500M free virus tests to counter omicron

In remarks Tuesday at the White House, President Joe Biden detailed major changes to his COVID-19 winter plan, his hand forced by the arrival of the fast-spreading variant, whose properties are yet not fully understood by scientists.

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Omicron now 73% of US COVID-19 cases

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention numbers showed nearly a six-fold increase in omicron’s share of infections in only one week.

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Arwady advisers urge her to block metal shredder, but its operator rips process as ‘ambiguous’

The company that built a car-shredding operation on the Southeast Side says the city has no justification for denying a permit, while health advisers are warning of consequences.

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Moderna: Initial booster data shows good results on omicron variant

The company says a full-dose booster, which has been recommended for people with weakened immune systems, triggered an 83-fold jump in antibody levels.

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Biden vaccine mandate for larger employers can take effect, court rules

The 2-1 decision by a panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati overrules a decision by a federal judge in a separate court that had paused the mandate nationwide.