BA.2 Surveillance, Chicago COVID Update – NBC Chicago

How soon will the United States know if another surge occurs after increases in other parts of the world, in part due to the highly transmissible BA.2 variant? What are the experts looking for?

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

Chicago announces changes to travel advisory format starting Friday

Starting later this week, Chicago’s travel advisory will look different, as city officials announced plans to change the structure of the advisory.

Following changes made by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the city said it will instead classify counties and locations as low, medium or high risk, based on data provided by the CDC. Residents should check the map for the latest information before travelling.

“Chicago travel advisories were always intended to be used by Chicagoans as a tool to help make informed travel decisions based on their individual and local risk of COVID-19,” the commissioner said. of the Chicago Department of Public Health, Dr. Allison Arwady. “As we enter this new phase of the pandemic, it is important for us to remember that all risks are local – and by aligning with the CDC COVID-19 community levels, we are able to better recommend the prevention steps that correspond to the specific risk.”

See the changes here.

Watch Live: Chicago’s top doctor to give COVID update and announce changes to travel advisory

Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady is scheduled to deliver an update on COVID-19 on Tuesday afternoon.

Speaking at 1 p.m., Arwady and CDPH Medical Director Dr. Geraldine Luna and Chicago Public Schools CEO Pedro Martinez are expected to address COVID case counts, vaccination data and “provide an update.” update on the travel advisory from Chicago, including a transition of the advisory”.

Watch live in the player above.

COVID by the numbers: Cases and hospitalizations continue to slowly descend 3 weeks after mask mandate lifted

Three weeks after the state of Illinois lifted its mask mandate, and amid reports that cases of an omicron subvariant are beginning to rise, state health officials say the Rates of new COVID infections have remained largely stable, and even declined, over the past seven days.

According to the latest numbers from the Illinois Department of Public Health, the state is now averaging 1,085 new COVID cases per day over the past week.

That figure was actually down from last Monday, when the state averaged 1,177 new virus cases per day.

Learn more here.

COVID vs cold symptoms: here’s how to tell the difference

If you’ve had a runny nose recently, you might be wondering if you have a cold, allergies, or maybe COVID-19.

Health officials say it can be hard to tell how you feel based on symptoms, but getting tested is one way to find out. This includes people who have been vaccinated, experts say.

Learn more here.

What experts are watching amid ‘heightened alert’ on BA.2

Health experts say they are paying close attention to the BA.2 variant over the next few weeks as they wait to see if another COVID surge occurs.

But while many believe a rise in cases is possible, some say it is unlikely to be more severe than the omicron surge seen earlier this year.

There are, however, signs in other countries that are currently experiencing an increase in cases due to the variant that transmission leads to increased hospitalizations and possibly even deaths.

Here’s what the experts say.

Health experts predict rise in COVID cases in US due to new BA.2 variant

US health experts warn that an emerging and highly contagious variant of Covid omicron, called BA.2, could soon lead to a further increase in domestic coronavirus cases.

White House chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci said BA.2 is about 50-60% more transmissible than omicron, but it doesn’t appear to be more serious. Health officials continue to stress that coronavirus vaccines and boosters remain the best ways to prevent serious illness from the virus.

Learn more here.

Masks no longer recommended in any of Illinois’ 102 counties, CDC says

For the first time since the end of Illinois’ mask mandate, residents of all 102 counties can safely visit public indoor spaces without wearing a mask, according to guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

All counties in Illinois were listed in the low category on the CDC’s COVID-19 community-level map Thursday, meaning masks can be safely removed.

According to metrics released a week earlier, masks had only been recommended in Johnson County, which had been classified as Community Level High — the highest level of COVID-19 risk.

Learn more here.

The latest advice on masks and travel tips during busy spring break

This spring break season, the Transportation Security Administration is preparing for a spike in travel volume that will exceed 90% of pre-pandemic levels for March.

For United Airlines, this weekend should be one of the busiest for spring break.

With the cancellation of COVID restrictions in much of the country, people are taking the opportunity to get away from it all and take in different sights. Despite relaxed mitigations, the TSA’s mask mandate remains in place.

Under the mandate, masks are mandatory on buses, trains and planes as well as in transport facilities until April 18.

Learn more here.

What is BA.2 or ‘Stealth Omicron’? What to know as overseas cases raise concerns

The BA.2 variant is beginning to grow in parts of the United States and is believed to be causing a number of increases in COVID in several countries, so what is it? is exactly and what does the change mean as restrictions continue to ease?

Chicago’s top doctor said Thursday that the effect of the BA.2 subvariant on the city’s fight against COVID is still unclear, though she is “concerned” about what is happening in other parts of the world.

Here’s what we know so far about BA.2.

Coronavirus in Illinois: 7,000 new cases, 123 deaths last week as decline continues

Illinois health officials reported 7,467 new cases of COVID-19 over the past week, along with 123 additional deaths and more than 56,000 new doses of vaccine administered, marking a continued decline in cases and death.

The previous week, the state had reported 8,519 new cases and 149 deaths. The previous week, 10,462 new cases and 272 deaths had been reported.

More information on the state’s latest COVID measures here.

Experts say new variants of COVID are likely, but how serious will they be?

While many are keeping a close eye on the omicron BA.2 subvariant and the so-called “deltacron” hybrid strain, some experts have suggested that new COVID variants could arrive in the coming months.

Based on how quickly new variants have appeared, some have predicted that the next variant could arrive as early as May.

Chicago public health officials said they “certainly expect more variants to emerge,” but it’s unclear whether these variants will be more or less severe than previous strains. There’s one thing they’re looking at, though, that they think could make a difference.

Learn more here.

Why Chicago health officials say they’re ‘concerned’ about COVID trends in Europe

With COVID spikes seen in parts of Europe, many of which coincide with an increase in BA.2 or “stealth omicron” cases, what does this signal to the US as restrictions tighten? soften?

Chicago’s top doctor said Thursday she was particularly concerned about the state of COVID cases in Europe.

“I’ll be honest, I’m concerned about what’s happening in Europe because I don’t think there’s a full understanding of it,” said the director of the Chicago Department of Public Health, Dr. Allison Arwady during a Facebook Live Thursday.

Learn more here.

COVID, colds, allergies: how to tell the difference between symptoms?

If you’re wondering if that runny nose, sore throat, or sneezing is just allergies, just a cold, or possibly signs of COVID-19, you’re not alone.

With many cold symptoms and with the onset of spring allergies, it can be difficult to decipher what could be causing the symptoms to appear.

Experts say the only real way to know the answer is to test, but until then health officials say treat all possible symptoms like COVID.

Read more here for a breakdown of symptoms.

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