A new debate is brewing over whether or not unvaccinated Illinois residents should pay their own medical bills if they contract COVID-19.
It comes as cases in the state continue to rise and the omicron variant spreads across the Midwest, with officials expecting it to be detected in Illinois soon.
Here’s what you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic in Illinois today:
Illinois State Representative Introduces Bill Requiring Unvaccinated Residents to Pay for Own COVID Care
A Democratic lawmaker in Illinois has introduced legislation that would require people who have not been vaccinated against COVID-19 to pay their own medical bills, including hospital bills, if they contract the virus.
State Representative Jonathon Carroll dropped off HB 4259 on Monday in Springfield. The legislation would impact residents who choose not to receive COVID-19 vaccines and require them to cover medical costs associated with contracting the virus, even if they have health insurance.
Carroll says the bill would encourage residents to get vaccinated and help curb the spread of the virus in Illinois.
“If you buy life insurance and smoke, you pay a higher premium than those who don’t,” he said. “Insurance companies have already incorporated this stuff.
Read more here.
Will New York City’s private sector COVID vaccine mandate arrive in Chicago?
As New York City prepares to implement the nation’s most ambitious COVID vaccine mandate, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has said her administration has no plans to adopt a similar requirement in the city.
The new mandate, which will require all private employers in New York City to institute vaccine requirements for their employees, will come into effect later this year, Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Monday.
“We in New York have decided to use a preemptive strike to really do something bold to stop the future growth of COVID and the dangers it poses to all of us,” he said.
During a press briefing on Monday, Lightfoot said she had no plans to implement a similar warrant in Chicago, saying there were real questions about whether such a requirement would pass judicial review.
Read more here.
What are the side effects of Pfizer, Moderna COVID Booster injections?
With the emergence of the rapidly spreading omicron variant, COVID-19 booster injections are now highly recommended not only by health officials in Chicago and Illinois, but also by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Everyone 18 and over should get a booster shot… when they are six months after their first Pfizer or Moderna series,” CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said in November.
“The recent emergence of the omicron variant (B.1.1.529) further underscores the importance of vaccination, boosters and prevention efforts needed to protect against COVID-19,” she added.
The World Health Organization echoed this sentiment, saying the omicron variant is highly contagious and that “preliminary evidence suggests there may be an increased risk of reinfection.”
Here’s what the CDC says about the side effects of each booster shot currently available.
Where in the Midwest has the Omicron COVID variant been detected?
As of December 6, the fast-spreading omicron variant had been detected in more than a dozen states across the country, including four in the Midwest.
Although it has yet to be detected in Illinois, Chicago health officials said on Sunday that the omicron COVID-19 variant, labeled a “variant of concern” by the World Health Organization, will be probably detected in the city “within a few days”.
“We haven’t yet detected the omicron variant here in Chicago or here in Illinois,” said Dr. Allison Arwady, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health. “But I expect that to happen probably in a number of days. There are many examples of ongoing case investigations right now where we know there are people who have been. exposed to the omicron variant, which we are aggressively investigating, testing, and contact tracing on. “
Based on the latest data, Arwady said the omicron appears to be twice as contagious as the delta COVID variant, which is already causing an increase across Chicago and much of the Midwest.
Here’s where in the Midwest, the omicron COVID variant has been detected, as of December 6.
COVID by the numbers: 8,700 new cases reported in Illinois on Monday as hospitalizations increase
The number of COVID cases in the state of Illinois continued its upward trend on Monday, with 8,700 new cases of the virus reported in the past 24 hours.
According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, the number of new COVID cases per day in the state continued to rise rapidly after the Thanksgiving holiday. On average, the state registers 7,146 new cases of COVID per day, the highest level than the average has increased since December 20, 2020.
The state reported 6,374 new probable and confirmed cases of the virus on Saturday, with 4,036 more cases reported on Sunday.
These new case numbers also coincide with an increase in testing across the state, with Illinois reporting more new COVID tests per day than it has at any time during the pandemic. The state set a new record on Thursday by reporting 231,876 new COVID test results, and although the days that followed did not reach that mark, they are still at high levels, with 148,527 results returned on Monday. only.
Read more here.
How to add your vaccination card to your iPhone’s Apple wallet
More than 17.5 million doses of the vaccine have been administered in Illinois. And since some businesses, concert halls, and restaurants require proof of vaccination to enter, what’s the easiest and fastest way to access your vaccination card?
If you have an iPhone, one way to do this is to add your vaccination card to your Apple wallet.
COVID home tests: how accurate are they? And how do you get one for free?
With the surge in COVID-19 cases in Illinois, the new variant of omicron spreading across the country and the winter holidays approaching, the demand for COVID testing has increased.
Free, in-person COVID-19 testing is available statewide. But many are opting for the convenience of home COVID testing.
However, concerns were raised after some tests were recalled due to false positive results – and some tests are more expensive than others (some, however, are an eligible expense for flexible savings accounts and flexible savings accounts. health savings).
Last week, President Biden detailed a new COVID mitigation plan requiring private insurers to cover the cost of COVID-19 home testing – and make it completely free.
So how can you get a free home COVID test? And how precise are they?
Here is what you need to know.
Can you take Tylenol or Ibuprofen after receiving a COVID booster? What about alcohol consumption? This is what a doctor says
Patients are asking whether or not they can consume alcoholic beverages after receiving their COVID-19 vaccine since the start of the pandemic.
The answer, according to an Illinois doctor from Cook County Health, is yes, but there is a catch.
“That’s a great question. The short, simple answer is yes,” Dr. Mark Loafman, president of family and community medicine for Cook County Health, told NBC Chicago in May. “There is no ban on drinking alcohol. It was not specifically studied and it is assumed that some, you know, an average number of people in the study drank alcohol in the past. during the study, but this was not specifically measured. “
When it comes to over-the-counter medications, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that people talk to their doctor about taking over-the-counter medications, such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen, aspirin, or antihistamines, to any pain and discomfort after being vaccinated.
According to the CDC, the COVID boosters from Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson have the same dosage as the first round of shots. Moderna, however, is half the dose of the vaccine used in the initial series.
The CDC, however, does not recommend that people take such over-the-counter medications or antihistamines to prevent side effects before receiving the coronavirus vaccine or the booster.
Read more here.
Previous COVID infection does not protect Omicron variant patients, Chicago-area doctor says
As the COVID-19 omicron variant continues to appear in the United States, health officials are scrambling to determine whether a coronavirus infection or a previous vaccine series will protect against the virus.
Dr. Richard Novak, chief of infectious diseases at the University of Illinois at Chicago, has warned that people who have contracted COVID in the past are unlikely to be protected against the omicron variant.
“New reports from South Africa now suggest that a previous infection offers no protection against this variant,” Novak said. “He is able to evade the immune response.”
Because the antibodies created from the coronavirus may not protect people, Novak, along with other health officials, is urging vaccinations.
“I think this is a wake-up call for people to get vaccinated and for those who are vaccinated to receive their boosters,” Novak said. “I think this is proof that the virus will be with us for a while or be part of the fabric of our society and we will have to keep fighting to stay ahead of the curve.”
While officials are unsure of the protection offered by vaccines against the virus, Novak said people vaccinated against COVID have experienced a milder case than those unvaccinated.
Read more here.