Capitol Fax.com - Your Illinois News Radar » First case of more contagious COVID-19 strain identified in Chicago
SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax      Advertise Here      Mobile Version     Exclusive Subscriber Content     Updated Posts    Contact
CapitolFax.com
To subscribe to Capitol Fax, click here.
First case of more contagious COVID-19 strain identified in Chicago

Friday, Jan 15, 2021

* Press release…

The Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) and Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) today announced the first case in Illinois of the SARS-CoV-2 variant B.1.1.7 first identified in the United Kingdom. The case was identified by the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine through sequencing analysis of a specimen from bio-banked samples of COVID-19 positive tests.

The new strain was first identified in the United States about two weeks ago in Colorado and has since been identified in several other states. Evidence suggests that this variant can spread more easily than most currently-circulating strains of COVID-19, but there is no evidence that the new strain affects the sensitivity of diagnostic tests or that it causes more severe illness or increased risk of death. In addition, data suggest current vaccines will be effective and safe in providing protection against the variant.

“This news isn’t surprising and doesn’t change our guidance around COVID-19. We must double down on the recommended safety strategies we know help stop the spread of this virus,” said CDPH Commissioner Allison Arwady, M.D. “In order to protect Chicago, please continue to wear a mask, practice social distancing, wash your hands often, do not have outside guests in your home, and get vaccinated when it is your turn.”

CDPH, IDPH and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in collaboration with various public health agencies, are closely monitoring this strain.

“When we learned of this and other COVID-19 variants, we increased our surveillance efforts by performing genomic sequence testing on an increased number of specimens,” said IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike. “We will continue to collaborate with our academic partners, local health departments like CDPH, hospitals, and the CDC to monitor for additional cases.”

A follow-up case investigation by CDPH found that the individual had travelled to the UK and the Middle East in the 14 days prior to the diagnosis. CDPH has worked to identify close contacts of the individual to reinforce the importance of adherence with quarantine and isolation measures.

CDPH is also working with the CDC and IDPH to contribute to national SARS-CoV-2 strain surveillance. Building regional capacity and coordination for this more advanced, specialized molecular laboratory public health work is a top priority for CDPH. Last year, prior to the detection of this variant, CDPH awarded $3 million to lay the groundwork for a Regional Innovative Public Health Laboratory, in partnership with Rush University Medical Center and working with laboratories and academic centers across the City, to increase public health surveillance of possible COVID-19 variants in the Chicago region.

“It is important to monitor the spread of virus variants,” said Dr. Egon Ozer, an assistant professor of medicine in infectious diseases at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “We expected this variant to show up eventually. We will continue to sequence and study these samples.”

Some data show a higher concentration of the virus in the respiratory tract for the UK variant that could be related to a higher infectivity and easier spread of the variant, but this needs to be confirmed, Ozer said. Some modeling and molecular data also seem to indicate the variant may attach more strongly to the receptor of the human cell, but this also remains under study. Importantly, no data suggests an increased severity of illness, and early studies have shown the vaccine is still effective against this variant.

Dr. Ozer, Dr. Judd Hultquist, Dr. Ramon Lorenzo Redondo and their team in the Northwestern Pathogen Genomics and Bioinformatics Group have been sequencing virus samples obtained from the Northwestern Medicine Diagnostics Molecular Biology Lab and other collaborating institutions. Their goal is to identify populations of SARS-CoV-2 viruses circulating in the city and see how they change over time in their ability to cause disease and spread. In December, the Northwestern team sequenced 180 random residual samples from individuals who came to Northwestern clinics or other sites for COVID-19 testing or screening that would have otherwise been discarded.

The COVID-19 virus – also known as SARS-CoV-2 – like other viruses, constantly changes through mutation, and new variants of a virus are expected to occur over time. According to the CDC, this variant is estimated to have first emerged in the UK during September 2020. Other novel variants of SARS-CoV-2, which also might change the way the virus transmits or behaves, have been identified in South Africa, Nigeria, Brazil, Japan and the US. More novel strains are likely to be identified in the coming weeks and months.

As a pre-cautionary measure, the CDC earlier this week announced that all international passengers headed to the United States will first need to show proof of a negative coronavirus test, a policy which goes into effect on Jan. 26. The new policy requires all air passengers, regardless of vaccination status, to get a test for current infection within the three days before their flight to the United States departs, and to provide written documentation of their test results or proof of having recovered from Covid-19.

Everyday preventive actions by the public can help to slow the spread of all known COVID-19 variants, including wearing a mask, washing hands often, staying six feet away from others and avoiding crowds, avoiding non-essential travel and getting vaccinated when it is your turn.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

9 Comments
  1. - Montrose - Friday, Jan 15, 21 @ 1:05 pm:

    But let’s get people back in restaurants and bars ASAP.


  2. - Incandenza - Friday, Jan 15, 21 @ 1:17 pm:

    Perfect time for the Mayor to lobby to open bars and restaurants!


  3. - Obama’s Puppy - Friday, Jan 15, 21 @ 1:22 pm:

    Is anyone surprised, I hope not


  4. - Commisar Gritty - Friday, Jan 15, 21 @ 1:27 pm:

    Sure this may cause a massive spike in cases, but is that really worse than mozzarella sticks getting soggy during a delivery? Open up! /s


  5. - Keyrock - Friday, Jan 15, 21 @ 2:00 pm:

    What Montrose said. Let’s keep people out of restaurants and bars to limit the damage done by this strain.


  6. - Candy Dogood - Friday, Jan 15, 21 @ 2:36 pm:

    Southern Illinois is going to need a lot of thoughts and prayers if this strain achieves community spread.


  7. - Amalia - Friday, Jan 15, 21 @ 3:06 pm:

    Right on cue as we find out that the National vaccine supply is not as promised. Lies? theft?


  8. - lake county democrat - Friday, Jan 15, 21 @ 3:52 pm:

    I’ll use this news to make another plea for the media to start discussing mask *quality* more. New York Times had a piece this week about how 2 masks offer more protection than one. More importantly, few sources encourages people to wear N95 equivalents (KN95, KF94) - the NFL is the only one I’ve heard mandate them - even though they have the power to slow the spread by protecting the wearer.


  9. - Joe Bidenopolous - Friday, Jan 15, 21 @ 4:01 pm:

    = Southern Illinois is going to need a lot of thoughts and prayers if this strain achieves community spread.=

    A doctor I trust implicitly - granted he’s a cardiac surgeon not an epidemiologist but has been working exclusively COVID for months - told me two weeks ago that the US doesn’t have anywhere near the testing of genomes to know how wide spread it is. He said to assume you already have community spread of it no matter where you live. Again, that was two weeks ago


TrackBack URI

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


* 1,442 new confirmed and probable cases; 33 additional deaths; 1,166 hospitalized; 263 in ICU; 2.2 percent average case positivity rate; 2.8 percent average test positivity rate; 83,115 average daily doses
* CDC report: Masks decrease spread, but on-premises restaurant dining increases it
* Unemployment applications rose nationally last week, fell slightly in Illinois
* Kass (no, not that Kass, the smart one) argues against austerity
* Democrats, business leaders argue for phased approach to full reopening, and they want it to start soon
* Chicago Sun-Times: “Illinois Can’t Sit Back And Wait For The Federal Government To Do The Job.” CEJA Can’t Wait.
* Durbin agreed to back Harris before flipping to Kelly
* *** UPDATED x1 - Local 150 responds, criticizes plaintiffs *** Appellate ruling: Transportation lock box amendment doesn't apply to home rule units
* ALPLM hires first person of color as executive director
* Support The Illinois Healthy Youth Act – SB266
* Open thread
* *** LIVE COVERAGE ***
* Yesterday's stories

Support CapitolFax.com
Visit our advertisers...

...............

...............

...............

...............

...............

...............

...............

...............

...............


Loading


Main Menu
Home
Illinois
YouTube
Pundit rankings
Obama
Subscriber Content
Durbin
Burris
Blagojevich Trial
Advertising
Updated Posts
Polls

Archives
March 2021
February 2021
January 2021
December 2020
November 2020
October 2020
September 2020
August 2020
July 2020
June 2020
May 2020
April 2020
March 2020
February 2020
January 2020
December 2019
November 2019
October 2019
September 2019
August 2019
July 2019
June 2019
May 2019
April 2019
March 2019
February 2019
January 2019
December 2018
November 2018
October 2018
September 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004

Blog*Spot Archives
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005

Syndication

RSS Feed 2.0
Comments RSS 2.0




Hosted by MCS SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax Advertise Here Mobile Version Contact Rich Miller