Moderna Study, CDC Report on Ill. Outbreak, New Travel Guidelines – NBC Chicago
Chicago updated the guidelines for its travel advisory, changing recommendations for certain travelers as nearly every U.S. state is now under a warning level.
Plus, a new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention centers on an outbreak in Illinois this summer.
Here’s what you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic across Illinois today:
New Studies Shed Light on Pfizer, Moderna COVID-19 Vaccines
Researchers in Belgium directly compared the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines by testing the antibodies of 2,500 health care workers after two doses of both vaccines.
The study found the Moderna vaccine produced more than double the antibodies compared to Pfizer, but doctors urge caution.
“Antibody level itself is interesting, but it doesn’t necessarily lead to a significant difference in the way the vaccine is performing,” said Dr. Allison Arwady, Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health.
Chicago is tracking breakthrough infections by vaccine, but Arwady said they haven’t found a substantial pattern.
Read more here.
CDC: 180 Cases of COVID-19 Linked to Illinois Church Camp, Men’s Retreat
The Illinois Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have announced the findings of an investigation into an outbreak of COVID-19 cases that occurred following an overnight church camp and a two-day men’s conference, both of which were held by the same organization earlier this summer.
According to the findings, a total of 180 cases of coronavirus were ultimately linked to the events, including 122 that occurred among attendees.
Neither event required COVID-19 vaccination or negative test results before attendees arrived, and neither event encouraged attendees to wear masks while in indoor spaces, according to the report.
Read more here.
Arwady Recommends Parents With Unvaccinated Kids Avoid Labor Day Weekend Travel
As Chicago changes its recommendations for unvaccinated travelers as part of its travel advisory, what will parents need to do if they have unvaccinated children?
Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said ultimately the decision will be left to parents and schools, but she urged those with unvaccinated kids to avoid traveling for the long Labor Day weekend.
“It is higher risk,” she said. “I would not recommend traveling, right, if you’ve got unvaccinated children, and particularly younger children. And the whole country is doing really badly from a COVID perspective right now so… I can tell you my own sister, you know, they have three young children who are too young to be vaccinated. They were hoping to go to Michigan for Labor Day, they’re not going in the context of it now being an orange state and their kids not being able to be vaccinated. I know that’s hard for people but we’re just trying to avoid infection and I think especially when we’re back in school the bar is a little higher in terms of trying to think about limiting that risk as much as possible.”
Read more here.
Nearly 100 Quarantined After COVID ‘Outbreak’ Reported at Sycamore School, Supt. Says
Nearly 100 students are in quarantine after at least 17 tested positive for coronavirus in a suburban school district, officials said.
According to Sycamore Community School District 427, 97 students were quarantine as of Friday, 54 of which had close contact with a positive case.
The district, which has roughly 3,480 students overall, reported 17 positive cases at that time.
“A large portion of those quarantines were due to what the local [health department] identified as an ‘outbreak’ at our Middle School,” Supt. Steve Wilder told NBC 5 in an emailed statement.
No positive cases or quarantines are currently reported in staff, according to the district’s COVID dashboard.
Read more here.
Chicago Updates Travel Advisory Recommendations for Unvaccinated Travelers
Chicago has updated its travel advisory recommendations for unvaccinated travelers Tuesday, adding additional testing guidelines for those going to or coming from higher-risk locations.
Citing guidance from the U.S. Centers for the Disease Control and Prevention, the Chicago Department of Public Health said it now recommends additional testing for unvaccinated individuals.
The latest guidance comes just ahead of the long Labor Day weekend.
Every US State Except 1 Now on Chicago Travel Advisory, Top Doctor Announces
Nearly every U.S. state, with the exception of one, is now on Chicago’s travel advisory, the city’s top doctor announced Tuesday, adding changes to the policy for travelers visiting “high-risk” locations.
Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said every state except Vermont is now on the city’s list recommending unvaccinated travelers test negative for COVID-19 or quarantine upon arrival.
“So unfortunately COVID is surging across the entire United States,” Arwady said. “The average right now is at 39 cases per 100,000 per day. We’re doing much better than that here in Chicago, but nevertheless the news remains not good from a COVID perspective at the national level.”
Read more here.
Chicago Businesses Cited Over Mask Mandate, City Says
Chicago has been enforcing its indoor mask mandate and a number of businesses have been cited in recent days for failing to comply, the city said.
According to Chicago Mayor Lori Lighftoot’s office, the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) issued 16 “notices to correct” and 20 citations to businesses from Aug. 20 through Aug. 29.
The city’s new indoor mask mandate took effect on Aug. 20. A similar mandate for the entire state began Monday.
“As cases continue to rise in Chicago, BACP is putting all businesses on high alert and letting them know that we will be strictly enforcing the City of Chicago mask mandate,” the mayor’s office said in a release.
Proof, Testing, Religious Exemptions: What to Know About COVID Vaccine Mandates
With both Illinois and Chicago mandating COVID vaccines for certain groups, what are the requirements and what do you need to know?