Daily cases rise above 2,000, Chicago reports ‘gradual’ rise – NBC Chicago

For the first time in more than a month, Illinois reported more than 2,000 new confirmed and probable COVID cases in a single day.

That comes as even Chicago is reporting a “gradual increase,” although health officials said the increase was expected.

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

Are at-home COVID tests, including free ones from the government, expiring?

With at-home COVID testing now readily available, some may be saving in case they need to test, but how long can you actually wait?

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the tests including those sent to Americans free of charge by the governmentcan expire.

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COVID cases are rising in Chicago, but spread remains low, city’s Top Doc says

The city of Chicago is seeing a slight increase in COVID cases, but Dr. Allison Arwady, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Health, said during a news conference Thursday that there is an important finding for Chicagoans to be aware of.

“We continue to see cases, but overall the outbreak remains well under control,” Arwady announced.

Community spread is currently low, according to the Chicago Department of Public Health.

On Thursday, the city of Chicago recorded 304 new COVID cases, up 28% over the past week.

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Watch live: Chicago’s top doc gives COVID update

Chicago Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady, will “discuss the latest COVID-19 case and immunization data for the city” in a Thursday morning news briefing.

The speech will take place at 11 a.m. at City Hall.

Arwady also planned to “talk about local, national and global trends with the virus and virus variants, as well as the ongoing rollout of the vaccine.”

Watch live in the player above.

Illinois COVID metrics: State reports more than 2,000 new cases for first time since February

For the first time in more than a month, the state of Illinois reported more than 2,000 new confirmed and probable COVID cases in a single day, part of a continued spike in new diagnoses in recent weeks.

According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, 2,194 new cases were reported by labs in the past 24 hours. This is the first time since February 26 that the state has reported more than 2,000 new cases in a single day.

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Wrigley Field COVID Protocols: Will Cubs games still require masks and vaccination cards?

The Chicago Cubs are preparing for their home opener at Wrigley Field Thursday afternoon, and after two years of COVID mitigations and regulations at sports venues, some fans may be wondering if there are additional protocols at the friendly confines.

According to the team’s website… there aren’t any.

The city of Chicago lifted both vaccination certificates and mask requirements in late February, and while cases are slowly increasing, there’s no indication either requirement will come back into effect.

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‘Gradual increase’ in Chicago’s COVID cases expected, but overall risk remains low: Top Doc

Chicago Department of Health officials say they are tracking a “gradual increase” in COVID-19 cases in the city, but the overall risk of infection for city residents remains low.

The city is currently seeing increases in both its test positivity, which rose to 1.6% this week, and its COVID cases, with the city seeing an average of 284 new cases per day, according to a press release issued on Tuesday.

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Why Chicago’s top doctor isn’t worried about the emerging COVID variant XE just yet

A new hybrid COVID variant called XE spreading in the UK is making many headlines with concerns about its transmissibility, but Chicago’s top doctor said she’s not worried about it just yet.

“Mostly it’s been detected in the UK, several hundred cases, but nothing at this point that clearly shows major concern or spread,” said Dr. Chicago Department of Health Commissioner Allison Arwady in a statement. “And so, at this point, it hasn’t even been flagged as an official variant of interest.”

Arwady noted that while the recombinant variant has already been discovered in the US, no cases have been reported in Chicago or Illinois as of Monday.

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What is the XE-COVID variant and where has it been detected so far?

A new hybrid COVID variant called XE spreading in the UK is making headlines, but what exactly is it and why are public health officials taking notice?

Here’s a look at what we know so far.

COVID symptoms in children: Here are signs parents should watch out for

As children return to school after spring break and some still cannot be vaccinated against COVID-19, many parents are wondering what symptoms to look out for in children.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, children have symptoms similar to adults and, in many cases, have a milder disease.

“While children are just as likely to get COVID-19 as adults, children are less likely to become seriously ill,” she said Mayo Clinic reports. “Up to 50% of children and adolescents can have COVID-19 without symptoms. However, some children with COVID-19 need to be hospitalized, treated in intensive care, or put on a ventilator to help them breathe.”

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This is how the XE-COVID variant differs from others, according to a Chicago scientist

While the coronavirus has been declining in the US, cases are rising in the UK, where scientists are also eyeing a new hybrid strain – the XE variant.

XE, which consists of material from BA.1, the original Omicron strain, and its subvariant BA.2, first appeared in mid-January. More than 600 cases have since been confirmed in the UK, according to health officials.

Early studies indicate that XE could be up to 10% more transmissible than the highly contagious BA.2 subvariant. However, more studies are needed, according to the World Health Organization.

Find the complete story here.

COVID vs. Allergies: How to Tell the Difference

With pollen sweeping the air and COVID variants lurking around, it can be difficult to pinpoint the culprit behind the sneeze. So how can you tell the difference between the two?

Experts say the only real way to know the answer is to take a test, but until then, health officials say to treat any possible symptoms as COVID.

Here is a list of COVID and allergy symptoms as described by the CDC.

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