Chicago-Area Counties at ‘High’ Level, Memorial Day Plans – NBC Chicago

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To mark the start of Memorial Day weekend, several Chicago-area counties have reached a “high community level” for COVID, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

So what does that mean for your holiday weekend plans?

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

As Cases Rise, Don’t ‘Try to Get COVID to Get it Over With,’ Chicago’s Top Doc Says

With cases rising and 15 Illinois counties including Cook County at “high community level” of the COVID virus, Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady on Thursday urged people once again to wear masks in crowded indoor settings, move Memorial Day weekend gatherings outside — and warned against trying to “get COVID to get it over with.”

“Please do not try to ‘get COVID to get it over with,'” Arwaday said.

“We are hearing people trying to do that. This does nothing to help us get over COVID as a city,” she continued. “It also is potentially dangerous given that we don’t always know who is likely to have more severe outcomes, and there are people who get long COVID. Don’t think that getting COVID means you’ll never get COVID again. We see plenty of people get re-infected with COVID. The vaccine is the most important thing for protection.”

Read more here.

Several Chicago-Area Counties Now at ‘High Community Level’ of COVID, CDC Says

As COVID cases continue to climb around the United States, more Illinois counties are currently at a “high community level” of the virus, including several in the Chicago area.

According to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, six Illinois counties within the NBC 5 viewing area are now at that “high community level” because of escalating case and hospitalization numbers.

Full list of counties here.

If You Think It’s Allergies, It’s Probably COVID, Top Doc Says

As high levels of mold and increased cases of COVID-19 hit the Chicago area, the city’s top doctor says to assume the symptoms are a sign of the contagious virus.

“If you think you have a cold, if you think you have allergies, there is a good chance right now with how much COVID is around that it could be COVID,” Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said. “No shame in being diagnosed with COVID, especially if you’ve done everything – you’re up to date with your vaccines.”

Read more here.

How Accurate Are At-Home COVID Tests? Here’s What to Know

If you think you were exposed to COVID or might have it, how accurate are the results of an at-home test?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “positive results from self-tests are highly reliable.”

Negative results, however, may not rule out infection, particularly in those with COVID-19 symptoms, the CDC states.

“If it’s positive, it’s positive, like we don’t worry about false positives,” Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said Thursday.

Read more here.

What Officials Recommend This Memorial Day Weekend as City Set for ‘High’ COVID Alert

Chicago health officials said while no mandates are expected in the lead-up to the Memorial Day weekend, despite the region likely transitioning into a “high” community alert level, there are some precautions residents should take.

Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady on Friday urged people who plan to gather for the holiday weekend to do so outside, or to wear masks if in indoor public spaces.

“One of the easiest things we can do to ease the risk of COVID is most things outside, or have a celebration outside,” she said. “For me, that takes my concern way down and I know as folks are gathering for Memorial Day, if you can do that, especially for somebody who’s higher risk, I strongly recommend that.”

Read more here.

Paxlovid: What Are The Side Effects of Pfizer’s Antiviral COVID Pill?

More and more people across Illinois are testing positive for COVID-19, and Chicago is expected to soon enter a “high” alert level under guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

And, according to the CDC, the new subvariant of omicron is now the dominant strain of COVID in the United States, with BA.2.12.1 responsible for nearly 58% of new cases over the last week.

As more cases are reported and the illness continues to spread, many are turning to questions over treating the virus with Pfizer’s new Paxlovid antiviral COVID-19 pill.

Read more here.

COVID Incubation Period: How Long Should You Quarantine With Infection?

As COVID-19 cases continue to spread across Chicago ahead of the Memorial Day Weekend, there may be lingering questions over the quarantine period and how long patients are contagious.

On Tuesday, Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said the city could reach a “high” alert level by the end of the week.

Here’s the latest information from the CDC.

Here’s What to Do If You Test Positive for COVID as Cases Climb

With cases rising and several Chicago-area counties nearing a high alert level from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, what should you do if you test positive for coronavirus or were exposed to someone who has?

“I’m guessing a lot of you know somebody who has had COVID recently,” Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said in a Facebook Live Tuesday.

Here’s a look at the guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on what to do if you test positive or believe you were exposed to someone who has.

What Happens Once a County Reaches ‘High’ COVID Alert Level?

As more Illinois counties reach heightened community COVID-19 levels, what could happen once an area is put on “high” alert?

In the event that a county reaches a “high community level” of COVID, residents are advised to wear masks indoors regardless of coronavirus vaccination status, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Read more here.

New Omicron Subvariant Now Dominant Strain of COVID-19 in United States: CDC Estimates

A new subvariant of omicron is now the dominant strain of COVID-19 in the United States, according to the latest estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

According to that data, the BA.2.12.1 subvariant, one of several variants of omicron that are driving an increase in COVID infections in the United States in recent weeks, is now responsible for nearly 58% of new cases over the last week.

Read more here.

Most COVID Long-Haulers Experience Neurologic Symptoms, Compromised Quality of Life Long After Infection, New Study Says

A new study from Northwestern Medicine shows that many so-called COVID “long-haulers” continue to experience symptoms including brain fog, tingling, headaches, dizziness, blurred vision, tinnitus and fatigue an average of 15 months after the onset of the virus, a press release on Tuesday said.

“Long-haulers,” are defined as individuals who have had COVID symptoms for six or more weeks, the hospital system has said.

According to Igor Koralnik, MD, chief of Neuro-infectious Diseases and Global Neurology at Northwestern Medicine, “The study reports the longest follow-up period of neurologic symptoms impacting non-hospitalized patients suffering from long-COVID anywhere in the world.”

Read more here.

New Omicron Subvariant: Symptoms, How Fast It’s Spreading, and More

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updates its estimates on which subvariants are causing cases of coronavirus in the United States each week, and a new version of omicron could ascend to the top of that list this week.

According to last week’s data, the BA.2.12.1 subvariant of omicron made up an estimated 47.5% of COVID cases in the United States.

So what exactly is this new subvariant? Is it spreading faster than previous iterations of the virus? And does it cause more severe illness? Here’s what we know so far.

Illinois to End Contact Tracing Calls for COVID Patients, Will Send Text Messages Instead

The Illinois Department of Public Health says that it will no longer conduct contact tracing via phone calls to individuals who test positive for COVID-19, and will instead use automated case notifications via SMS text message starting next month.

Beginning on June 1, IDPH officials say that they will no longer make case investigation phone calls to individuals who test positive for COVID-19, and that the contact tracing call center that had been established during the pandemic will cease operations.

Read more here.

How Long Can You Test Positive for COVID Following Infection?

If you test positive for COVID, how long could that last?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, some people who contract COVID-19 can have detectable virus for up to three months, but that doesn’t mean they are contagious.

When it comes to testing, however, the PCR tests are more likely to continue picking up the virus following infection.

Read more here.

When Are You Contagious With COVID and How Long Should You Quarantine?

COVID-19 cases have been on the rise across Chicago and the city’s top doctor said the trend will likely continue in coming weeks, sparking questions from concerned residents.

Dr. Allison Arwady, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, says that the city’s positivity rate has soared to nearly 5% in recent weeks, and she expects metrics to continue to rise in the coming days.

Read more here.

Low, Medium, High: What CDC’s Community Levels Mean and What’s Required in Each

With nearly every Chicago-area county having reached the “medium community level” for COVID-19 and one Chicago suburb reaching “high” transmission levels, per guidance set by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, what does that mean for you?

So what does that mean and what does it take to reach each level?

Here’s a look at the guidelines.

CDC COVID Guidelines 2022: Symptoms to Watch for, How Long to Quarantine and More

With new, more contagious variants of COVID-19 spreading across the U.S. and nearly all of the Chicago area rising to a higher alert level, many are wondering what to do if they experience symptoms or test positive for the virus.

If you were exposed, when could symptoms start, how long are you contagious, how long should you quarantine for and when is the best time test?

Read more here.



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