CTA free face mask dispenser. (Courtesy of Chicago Transit Authority)
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Gov. J.B. Pritzker issued the revised executive order hours after Chicago health and transportation officials told riders a state order required them to keep masking up.

(StockSnap / Pixabay)

State Contact Tracing Surge Center Handling Bulk of Cases

In the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, city and county officials hired hundreds of contact tracers to help stop the spread of the coronavirus as the sheer number of cases overwhelmed local health departments. But as the coronavirus pandemic enters an endemic phase, contact tracing will become more targeted, according to officials.

(WTTW News)

“I don’t anticipate, you know, more serious consequences in terms of work stoppages,” CPS CEO Pedro Martinez said, “but we will continue to work together because we have it in both our best interests to keep our community safe.”

(WTTW News)
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Program pairs police with mental health professionals to respond to some calls

Crisis Assistance Response and Engagement (CARE) teams — which are comprised of police officers trained in crisis intervention, a mental health professional and a paramedic — fielded 134 separate mental health crisis calls between Sept.13, 2021 and Wednesday, according to new city data.

A bartender mixes a drink at the Chicago restaurant 14 Parish. (WTTW News)
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After 182 days, Gov. J.B. Pritzker lifted the statewide mandate on Monday as confirmed cases of COVID-19 and hospitalizations continued to drop precipitously after the surge driven by the omicron variant. 

(WTTW News)

The city will end its indoor mask mandate Monday. Plus, restaurants, fitness centers and bars will no longer require customers to show proof of vaccination for entry. We spoke with Chicago’s top doctor about recent COVID-19 metrics.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot addresses the news media on Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2022. (Heather Cherone/WTTW News)
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“It’s important for us to recognize this moment for what it is: a huge step forward in our effort to overcome COVID-19,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said.

An aerial shot of the newly constructed Southside Recycling, 11600 S. Burley Ave. (Courtesy of Reserve Management Group)
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Officials with the Chicago Department of Public Health rejected the permit because of the “potential adverse changes in air quality and quality of life that would be caused by operations, and health vulnerabilities in the surrounding communities.” 

An aerial shot of the newly constructed Southside Recycling, 11600 S. Burley Ave. (Courtesy of Reserve Management Group)
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City officials said they would announce no later than Sunday whether they will issue the final permit Southside Recycling needs to start operations.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot addresses the news media Monday, Feb. 14. (Chicago's Mayor's Office)
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Mayor Lori Lightfoot declined Monday to say whether the city is on track to lift its mask mandate along with the state or lift the vaccine mandate for patrons of restaurants, fitness centers and bars on Feb. 28.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker announces that the state’s indoor mask mandate will be lifted on Feb. 28 during a press conference on Feb. 9, 2022. (WTTW News)
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Masks will still be required in most Illinois schools as state officials ask an appellate court to reverse a decision by a Sangamon County judge who ended the mask mandate in some Illinois schools, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said.

(WTTW News)
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The rate of COVID-19 vaccinations began growing faster among Chicagoans 18 and older as compared with any other age group, according to city data. 

Students at Chicago Public Schools walk along a hallway in this file photo. (WTTW News)
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Under a new statewide compromise, public school and higher ed employees across Illinois won’t have to expend their sick time if they are forced to miss work due to COVID-19 — as long as they’re fully vaccinated.

(WTTW News)
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The state law, which applies in Chicago as well as the rest of the state, took effect Jan. 1. 

(WTTW News)
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More than 14,000 students and staff within Chicago Public Schools are currently either quarantining or in isolation due to COVID-19, but the district will soon be shortening the amount of time those people need to stay home from school.

Dr. Allison Arwady, the commissioner of the Department of Public Health, addresses the news media on Wednesday Jan. 19, 2021. (Chicago's Mayor's Office)
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Chicago's COVID-19 test positivity peaked at 19.6% on Jan. 1, Arwady said, and hit 12.6% on Tuesday, the lowest rate since Dec. 28, according to city data.