Illinois Coronavirus Updates: Mask Mandate Latest, Booster Shot Schedule – NBC Chicago

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Illinois is one of six U.S. states still implementing a mask mandate, but what is the reasoning behind it?

A Chicago doctor gave an explanation.

Plus, when should you get your booster shot of the vaccine?

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

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Why is Illinois 1 of 6 Remaining States With a Mask Mandate? Here’s What One Doctor Says

Mask requirements have been lifted in dozens of states and communities across the country, but that has yet to be the case in Illinois – one of six states where masks must still be worn in public indoor spaces.

Of the states where mask mandates remain in effect – Hawaii, Illinois, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon and Washington – Illinois is the only one east of the Mississippi River.

Defending the mask mandate, Dr. Jennifer Seo, chief medical officer with the Chicago Department of Public Health, said the U.S. is seeing higher numbers of cases in areas where the weather is colder.

Michigan and Minnesota, which don’t have mask mandates, have the highest rates of COVID-19, the doctor noted.

Pritzker has not made any announcements about whether the state plans to roll back its mask mandate for indoor spaces.

Read more here.

COVID Booster Shot Schedule: When Can You Get Your COVID Booster Shot, And Where in Chicago Can You Get One?

After U.S. regulators cleared cleared Moderna and Pfizer’s COVID booster shots for all U.S. adults, many are wondering how soon they can get their COVID booster shot, how to schedule an appointment for one, and where.

Health officials have noted that timing with the Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines is different than Johnson & Johnson. So when will you be eligible?

Here’s a breakdown.

COVID-19 Guidance Around Thanksgiving Travel

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) last month announced updated guidance around traveling for Thanksgiving this year, encouraging travelers to get vaccinated against COVID-19. The guidance also suggests wearing masks in public indoor settings.

Wearing a mask over your nose and mouth is required on public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the United States, regardless of vaccination status.

More on what you should know if you’re planning to travel this holiday.

Coronavirus in Illinois: 28,280 New Cases, 150 Deaths, 434K Vaccinations in Past Week

Illinois health officials on Friday reported 28,280 new COVID-19 cases in the past week, along with 150 additional deaths and over 434,995 new vaccine doses administered.

In all, 1,763,866 cases of coronavirus have been reported in the state since the pandemic began, according to the latest data from the Illinois Department of Public Health. The additional deaths reported this week bring the state to 26,227 confirmed COVID fatalities.

New cases of COVID increased 25% from a week prior, according to the latest data from IDPH. The number of deaths increased from last week, as well.

Read more here.

District 65 Cancels Classes Ahead of Thanksgiving Break Due to Staff Shortages

Citing staff shortages and the mental health of staff and faculty, Evanston/Skokie School District 65 is canceling classes on Monday and Tuesday, giving students a longer Thanksgiving break than planned.

District leadership announced the decision in a letter posted online Friday explaining the district doesn’t have adequate staffing or substitute teacher coverage to “provide the necessary care or to support high quality learning next week.”

“We believe this is a result of educators and support staff needing to rest and focus on mental health and also to tend to their own families,” the letter from Superintendent Dr. Devon Horton stated.

Horton added the district hopes “our community can both respect and understand the unique circumstances of this situation and those we all continue to face.”

“We know our staff, families, and students are all doing their best,” he said. “Stress is causing burnout and people are juggling personal and professional responsibilities, and a myriad of challenges catalyzed by the pandemic.”

Read more here.

COVID Booster Shots: Here’s Who Is Eligible After CDC Endorsement

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has endorsed booster shots of the Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines for all U.S. adults, but are you able to get one?

Under the new rules, anyone age 18 and older can choose either a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine booster shot six months after their last dose. For those who received the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, the wait already was just two months.

Federal health officials noted that people can continue to “mix-and-match” boosters from any company.

Details here.