Chicago updated its travel order Tuesday, adding new states to the higher-risk travel category and updating the testing requirements for some.
Meanwhile, Illinois reveals changes to its COVID mitigation plan as vaccinations continue across the state.
Here are the latest updates on the coronavirus pandemic across Illinois today:
Table of Contents
Coronavirus in Illinois: 2,587 New COVID Cases, 9 Deaths, 81K Vaccinations
Illinois health officials reported 2,587 new confirmed and probable coronavirus cases and nine additional deaths in the last day, along with nearly 82,000 vaccinations administered.
The newly reported coronavirus cases Tuesday bring the state total to of 1,306,787 cases since the pandemic began. The nine additional deaths rose the total death toll to 21,694, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.
In the last 24 hours, 47,506 coronavirus test specimens were returned to state laboratories, with more than 21.7 million now conducted during the pandemic.
Lori Lightfoot Expects Fans for Bulls, Blackhawks by Season’s End
In a press conference Tuesday morning, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot expressed optimism that fans will return to the United Center for Bulls and Blackhawks games by the end of each team's 2020-21 seasons.
"We're talking to both the Bulls and the Blackhawks. I think they've got very solid plans," Lightfoot said. "But those plans were rolled out at a time when we were on the upswing on the surge. As Dr. (Allison Arwady) already said and the numbers bear out, we feel like we might be plateauing and even -- dare to dream -- going down.
"Going down is the right time to have that conversation, so we'll continue with that. And I expect before season's end that there will be fans in the United Center."
Chicago Travel Order: 26 States Now Higher Risk, Testing Requirements Change
Chicago updated its emergency travel order Tuesday, detailing where states currently stand and determining the guidelines on whether travelers must quarantine or test negative for COVID-19 prior to their arrival in the city.
The order now includes 26 states as well as Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia under an "orange tier," which requires a quarantine or pre-arrival negative test before coming to Chicago. The lesser "yellow tier" includes 23. Which tier states fall into depends on case rate adjusted for population.
Also, beginning this week, those who travel from an orange list state and are not able to get a test before arriving in Chicago can use an airport testing site or another testing site upon arrival, officials said, adding that those who get tested upon arrival must still quarantine until they receive a negative result.
Navy Pier Announces Phased Reopening, Celebration Fireworks
Following its temporary closure since Labor Day, Navy Pier will begin its phased reopening at the end of April, representatives for the iconic Chicago attraction announced.
The initial phase, which begins April 30, restores public access to the following: parking garages at Navy Pier, Polk Bros Park, Peoples Energy Welcome Pavilion, the pier's North and South docks, Pier Park, select rides and attractions, East End Plaza, tour boats and cruises, the new Sable hotel, and select restaurants at limited capacity.
In celebration of the reopening, Navy Pier will host a 10-minute fireworks show every Saturday in May at 9 p.m. Guests will be allowed to watch the displays from Navy Pier's open spaces.
Cook County to Release 10K COVID Vaccine Appointments Tuesday
Cook County is set to release 10,000 COVID vaccine appointments Tuesday afternoon.
The appointments are set to be released at noon and will include doses of both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.
Meanwhile, Aurora also announced it is offering first-dose Pfizer vaccine appointments between April 20-27 at its mass vaccination site located at 970 N. Lake St.
Watch Live: Lightfoot, Chicago’s Top Doc to Visit Chicago State University Mass Vaccination Clinic
Chicago Mayor Lightfoot and Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Arwady will join Chicago State University President Zaldwaynaka “Z” Scott for a visit of CSU’s mass vaccination clinic.
The visit is set for 9:30 a.m. in the Emil & Patricia A. Jones Convocation Center.
A stream of the event will be streamed live in the player above.
Study: Single COVID Vaccine Dose Insufficient for Individuals Who Had Mild Cases of Virus
Researchers at Northwestern University’s Institute for Policy Research say a new study has indicated that one dose of two-dose COVID-19 vaccines does not provide sufficient protection against the virus in individuals who had previously had mild or asymptomatic cases of the disease, meaning that those individuals are still advised to get both doses of the vaccine.
According to a press release from the researchers, the study had examined whether individuals who had previous mild or asymptomatic cases of the coronavirus could achieve a high-level of immunity with only one dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, rather than the recommended two doses.
The study did not investigate the differences between mild COVID cases and the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in terms of the robustness of immune response.
Read more here.
Illinois Reopening Plan: Regions Won’t Automatically Trigger New Mitigations, Even if They Hit Metrics
Illinois' 11 regions will not automatically see any new COVID-19 mitigations, even if they hit the metrics that previously automatically triggered more restrictions, state health officials said Monday.
All of the state's regions remain in Phase 4 of the state's reopening plan, where they've been since February.
Previously, a region would move from Phase 4 to Tier 1 mitigations if it saw a test positivity rate ≥ 8% for three consecutive days over a 14-day monitoring period (7-day average) OR a sustained increase in test positivity rate (7-day average over 7 of 10 days) and either (A) Sustained increase in COVID patients in hospital (7-day average over 7 of 10 days), or (B) Staffed hospital and ICU beds < 20% for three consecutive days (3-day average).
But state health officials said Monday that regions will no longer automatically trigger Tier 1 mitigations, even if they hit those metrics amid another rise in cases and hospitalizations.
"The resurgence mitigation plan was designed before we had vaccines," Illinois Department of Public Health spokeswoman Melaney Arnold said in a statement Monday.
Pfizer vs. Moderna Vaccines: Side Effects, Efficacy and More
As many Johnson & Johnson vaccine appointments shift to doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines in wake of a recommended pause in Illinois and Chicago, what can those who were once anticipating the single-shot vaccine now expect?
Though the pause in the J&J vaccine is likely only temporary, both the city and state have already switched many vaccination clinics and events to one of the remaining vaccines available.
White House chief medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said Sunday he believes the U.S. will likely resume use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine as early as this week, though it could come with a warning or restriction attached.
Chicago COVID Vaccine Eligibility Opened to All Residents Ages 16 and Up Monday
Chicago opens COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to all residents age 16 and older Monday, one week after the rest of Illinois.
The shift to Phase 2 eligibility comes as the city announces that more than 1 million residents have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine.
“Opening vaccine eligibility to all adults in Chicago is another important milestone in our goal of vaccinating everyone, and moving past the pandemic to reopen our city safely,” Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said.
Lightfoot also issued a reminder that vaccine supply continues to remain limited throughout the city, encouraging people to remain patient.
Read more here.
Chicago High Schools Reopen After Union Approval
Chicago’s public high schools reopened Monday for the first time since the nation’s third-largest school district went fully remote amid the coronavirus pandemic over a year ago.
The Chicago Teachers Union announced Sunday that its members overwhelmingly approved a reopening plan that includes helping students 16 and older and their families get COVID-19 vaccines, with priority given to certain ZIP codes hit hard by the pandemic. Also included in the agreement with Chicago Public Schools is more leeway for educators to work remotely, like if they don’t have in-person students that day.
Coronavirus in Illinois: 2,666 New COVID Cases, 10 Deaths, 115K Vaccinations
Illinois health officials reported 2,666 new confirmed and probable coronavirus cases and 10 additional deaths in the last day, along with over 115,000 vaccinations administered.
The newly reported coronavirus cases Sunday brings the state total to 1,302,241 cases since the pandemic began. The 10 additional deaths rose the total death toll to 21,663, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.
In the last 24 hours, 70,106 coronavirus test specimens were returned to state laboratories, with more than 21.7 million now conducted during the pandemic.
The statewide positivity dropped Sunday, with 4% of all tests returning positive results. The positivity rate for individuals tested in the last seven days also dropped to 4.7%, according to IDPH data.
Read more here.
What Makes You More Likely to Get Side Effects From COVID Vaccine?
Side effects are possible after receiving either one or two doses of any of the coronavirus vaccines currently being administered in the U.S., but not everyone experiences them. Experiencing side effects isn't necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it's a sign your body is responding.
So what makes someone more likely to experience them than others?
Women and younger people are more likely to report side effects, experts say, while side effects could also vary depending on whether or not you've had coronavirus.
People are more likely to report side effects after their second dose, Chicago's top doctor said, echoing reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But not getting side effects isn't negative, health experts say.