Officials Monitor New COVID Variant, Bulls Player Tests Positive – NBC Chicago


Note: Any news conferences from Gov. J.B. Pritzker, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot or other officials will be streamed in the video player above.

As Illinois officials entered the new year vaccinating long term care facility residents, the state continues to monitor the new coronavirus variant making its way through the U.S.

Meanwhile, a Chicago Bulls player tested positive for COVID-19, causing coach Billy Donovan to place several other players into the NBA’s health and safety protocol due to close contact.

Here are the latest updates on the coronavirus pandemic across the state of Illinois today (Jan. 1)

Illinois Reports 4,762 New Coronavirus Cases, 29 Additional Deaths Saturday

Health officials in Illinois reported 4,762 new confirmed and probable cases of coronavirus on Saturday along with 29 additional deaths attributed to the virus.

According to the latest data from the Illinois Department of Public Health, the state has now reported 975,352 cases of the virus since the pandemic began, along with 16,674 total fatalities.

Over the last 24 hours, 61,987 new tests returned to labs across the state. In all, 13,436,652 tests have been performed during the pandemic, according to IDPH data.

The state’s seven-day positivity rate for tests increased to 9.6% Saturday, up from 9.5% Friday, while the positivity rate for cases rose to 8.3%.

Hospitalizations in the state held steady Saturday at 3,799 patients receiving care for the coronavirus. The number of patients in intensive care units dropped to 783, while there are currently 458 patients on ventilators in the state due to COVID-19.

Bulls Announce Chandler Hutchison Tested Positive for COVID-19, 4 in Protocol

Chandler Hutchison tested positive for COVID-19, according to Bulls coach Billy Donovan, a development that placed teammates Lauri Markkanen, Tomáš Satoranský and Ryan Arcidiacono into the NBA’s health and safety protocol because of close contact.

Donovan confirmed Hutchison’s news with the third-year forward’s permission, and Hutchison remained in Washington, D.C. That’s where his positive test occurred, sidelining him and the three teammates just before Thursday’s tipoff against the Wizards.

The Bulls traveled to Milwaukee for Friday’s back-to-back game, leaving the four players behind. Donovan said the three players besides Hutchison who were placed into the league’s protocol system have returned to Chicago.

“Chandler is still going through all the NBA safety protocols,” Donovan said.

Per the league’s return-to-play rules, Hutchison must sit out a minimum of 10 days from first testing positive — and that’s if he’s asymptomatic. If he’s symptomatic, that 10-day period begins from when those symptoms subside. In either scenario, players must pass a series of cardiac tests and practice solo for two days before being allowed to rejoin the team.

As for the players placed in the league’s protocol because of close contact, they must continue to produce negative…



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