Illinois Coronavirus Updates: Free N95 Masks, Mass Vaccination Sites

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Free N95 masks from the government are expected to be available in Illinois this week.

Plus, a number of reopenings are being reported this week, including a mass vaccination site in Cook County and state driver services facilities.

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

Walgreens, CVS, Chicago-Area Pharmacies to Distribute Free N95 Masks This Week

Walgreens, CVS and other Chicago-area pharmacies and retailers are set to begin distribution of free N95 masks this week as part of a Biden administration initiative to battle a surge in COVID-19 cases related to the omicron variant.

A total of 400 million masks from the Strategic National Stockpile will be shipped to pharmacies and community health centers enrolled in the nationwide Federal Retail Pharmacy Program.

Read more here.

Illinois Driver Services Facilities Reopen Monday After 3-Week Closure

After statewide closures due to elevated COVID-19 cases, Illinois driver services facilities and Secretary of State departments will reopen Monday for in-person transactions, officials announced.

Driver service facilities across Illinois have been closed since Jan. 3, though online services have remained open on the Illinois Secretary of State website, Secretary of State Jesse White said in a news release.

Read more here.

St. Charles Public Library Closes After Staff Threatened Over Mask Policy: Report

The St. Charles Public Library has temporarily closed to in-person visits after staff allegedly received threats regarding the library’s mask policy, according to the Kane County Chronicle.

In a message posted to its website, the library said that it is currently closed to in-person visits “due to the heightened threat of health and safety,” but didn’t provide additional details regarding the closure.

Edith Craig, library director, told the Chronicle that staff received both threatening emails and phone calls, and the library was working with police to put safety measures in place before reopening.

Read more here.

Is Sneezing a Symptom of COVID? How to Tell the Difference Between the Virus, Allergies and Flu

Is sneezing a symptom of COVID-19?

Allergy-sufferers have been asking whether their recent symptoms are caused by the chilly environment, a cold, the flu or the coronavirus.

Experts say the only real way to know the answer is to test, but until then, health officials say to treat any possible symptoms assuming they are related to COVID.

Read more here.

Cook County Reopens Third Mass Vaccination Site

Cook County reopened its third COVID-19 mass vaccination Saturday as part of an ongoing effort to curb the rise in infections caused by a surge of the omicron variant.

County officials closed the remaining mass vaccination sites in July, citing a change in strategy due to a sharp decline in attendance. Instead, health officials implemented a hyperlocal model, organizing clinics at festivals and other community gatherings.

But with the latest surge, Cook County Health reopened the vaccination site at the former Kmart in Des Plaines Saturday. Facilities in Forest Park and Matteson opened early in the week.

Read more here.

Mild COVID-19 Infections Can Lead to Long-Term Neurological Damage: Study

Neurological symptoms have been commonly reported in those suffering from post-COVID conditions – lingering symptoms experienced four or more weeks after an initial infection.

But a new study by researchers at Yale University found even those who contract mild infections can sustain neurological damage.

Read more here.



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