COVID-19 Updates
July 23, 2021
It has been great this summer having more freedom to move around without masks and spend time with family and friends, especially for those who have been vaccinated. Unfortunately, the pandemic is not over. The Delta variant is something we have to pay attention to as COVID cases, hospitalizations and deaths are starting to rise again.

As people of faith, let us be leaders in encouraging people to get vaccinated. Vaccinations are safe and effective. They help keep us and others safe, especially our children who don’t have the option to be vaccinated. Increasing vaccination rates in our communities will allow us to come back together in our houses of worship to share in our sacred rituals, learn together, and enjoy community life.

We hope these resources will be helpful to you as you navigate this journey with your members and neighbors. Let us know if there are other ways that we can support you.

Aug. 19, 9:00-11:00 a.m.

Hosted by the Trauma-Informed Congregations Network, this August Community of Practice conversation will center on tools and support to strengthen resilience as we reopen.

Rev. Dr. Barbara A. Wilson, Director, Collaboration & Community Partnerships, Presbytery of Chicago, and Amy McNicholas, Manager, Faith and Health Partnerships, Illinois, Advocate Aurora Health, will discuss:

  • How are we supporting ourselves and others' returning with lived collective trauma and cumulative toll?
  • We have experienced a relational disruption. What are you seeing in your communities?
  • As we continue to reopen and prepare for potential surges, how do we strengthen community resilience?
  • What tools and support are needed to address our self and collective care needs?
COVID-19 Vaccine

Getting vaccinated is safe, effective and will help us beat COVID-19. We're currently vaccinating anyone 12 and older in Illinois and Wisconsin.

Our greatest priority is delivering the COVID-19 vaccine safely and fairly. The vaccines are safe and effective, and the benefits of getting vaccinated far outweigh the risk.

The vaccine is how we get back to what matters – friends, family and a brighter tomorrow.

COVID-19 Testing

We’re offering COVID-19 tests at our Advocate Immediate Care and Aurora Urgent Care locations – regardless of symptoms or exposure. Testing is available via walk-in or by appointment. You can expect to receive your results within 48 hours.
How concerning is the COVID-19 Delta variant?
5 things you should know.

The highly infectious Delta variant of COVID-19 is leading to surges of cases in the United KingdomAfrica, and now, parts of the United States. Responsible for about one in every five U.S. cases and rising, the new strain has many public health officials worried as vaccination rates have slowed. Dr. Robert Citronberg, executive medical director of infectious disease and prevention for Advocate Aurora Health, answers questions about the variant’s potential impact.

How concerning is the Delta variant?

The variant is circulating rapidly in this country and in other countries around the world. While it’s unclear if it’s more dangerous than the original strain of the virus, it’s most definitely more contagious, meaning that more people will get the disease, more people will be hospitalized and unfortunately, more people are going to die from it.

Who is at risk?

We will definitely see spikes in cases and mini-surges in pockets of the country that have low vaccination rates.

A hospital in Southwest Missouri had shut down their COVID unit, but has now been forced to open it back up again. Now they’re full and diverting new patients. This is a community that has low vaccination rates and is a cautionary tale for communities with similarly low vaccination rates. We believe areas of the country with high vaccination rates are going to have much less impact from the Delta variant.

Some people aren’t finishing their vaccine series. How important is it to be fully vaccinated?

"Should I ask my child's school if the teachers are vaccinated?" 
Advocate Children’s Hospital and Aurora Children’s Health pediatricians Dr. Frank Belmonte and Dr. Kevin Dahlman answer questions to help you make informed decisions about your family’s health and wellness:

Will you, as pediatricians, be doing any special preparation with your kids for school this fall (post-COVID-19)? As parents, the best thing we can do is to make sure our children understand the importance of the mitigation efforts we have been using over the last year, including masking, social distancing and hand hygiene. Most schools are expected to follow them in the fall.

As a parent, should I be asking my child’s school how many teachers and staff have been vaccinated? Should that make a difference in whether I sent them back? Parents should certainly ask about the school’s plans for keeping children safe, but schools may not know exactly how many of their staff members have been vaccinated. This is a more important question as your schools begin to relax the mitigation efforts.

It’s possible that our little ones will not be approved for vaccines by school in August. Is it safe to send them anyway? Many schools successfully held in-person learning this past year without vaccines. If they are diligent about masking, social distancing and hand hygiene, the risk for young unvaccinated children is low.

My child hates going to the doctor. Is it okay to skip an annual visit if they have been healthy all year? No. The annual check-up is when your pediatrician screens your child for weight, blood pressure, physical, mental and social development. Many children missed their annual check last year and are now behind on vaccines or may have undiagnosed medical problems. It is safe to bring your child in for their physical and we recommend it!

'no one is left behind...'

Thanks to a partnership between Advocate Aurora Health and the City of Chicago, residents of the far south region of Chicago have convenient access to the COVID-19 vaccine.

The collaboration offers several vaccination options:

Protect Chicago at Home offers up to 10 people at a residence – even if they are not Chicago residents - in-home vaccination. Each household that participates receives a $50 Grubhub gift card.

Mobile pop-up vaccination sites offer vaccination at community events, churches, block parties and other gatherings.

Residents also can receive the vaccine on city buses that are parked in neighborhoods for a duration, providing a hub for area residents to receive the vaccine just blocks from their home.

“At the end of the day, no one is left behind on vaccinations, especially those in vulnerable communities,” said Jackie Rouse, Vice President of Community Health-Illinois, Advocate Aurora Health. “Everything is opening up and there are still some who are getting sick. We want to make sure we are reaching the most vulnerable populations and offering them ease of access to get the vaccine.”

The City of Chicago has partnered with other healthcare organizations to offer the same vaccine outreach initiatives in other regions of the city.

To learn more, or to make an appointment, call the City’s COVID-19 hotline at 312.746.4835.
Become a Vaccine Champion!

Being a good neighbor means we help and support each other. We listen, we trade stories and share information – we're here for each other. That’s what our Neighbor-to-Neighbor Vaccine Champions do. They listen and they share reliable information at the grassroots level to help community members make educated decisions about getting a COVID-19 vaccination.

Have questions or want to get involved? Reach us at
COVID 19 Citizen Science Study

Advocate Aurora Health and The University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) researchers are looking for participants to join a study of COVID 19’s impact using a smartphone app.

Their goal is to help stem transmission of the virus and its new variants, monitor vaccination efforts, and ultimately improve health outcomes for people living in the U.S. and around the world. The COVID 19 Citizen Science Study is open to all people with or without COVID 19 infections, who are over 18 years of age, own a smartphone and download the “UCSF Eureka Research” mobile app. Participants’ daily 5 minute app updates will help researchers identify new symptoms, prevent infection and track regional impact.

For more info click here.
FEMA Provides Funeral Assistance

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought overwhelming grief to many families. FEMA's mission is to help people before, during and after disasters. FEMA is dedicated to helping ease some of the financial stress and burden caused by the virus.

FEMA is providing financial assistance for COVID-19 related funeral expenses incurred after January 20, 2020.

FEMA is providing financial assistance for funeral expenses incurred after Jan. 20, 2020 for deaths related to COVID-19 to help ease some of the financial stress and burden caused by the pandemic.
To apply, call the COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Line Number at 844-684-6333 | TTY: 800-462-7585, Monday - Friday, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Central Time

"At FEMA, our mission is to help people before, during and after disasters," said Acting FEMA Administrator Bob Fenton. “The COVID-19 pandemic has caused immense grief for so many people. Although we cannot change what has happened, we affirm our commitment to help with funeral and burial expenses that many families did not anticipate."
COVID-19 Resources
Available in English
Available in English and Spanish
Available in English and Spanish
The COVID-19 Resource Center in English and Spanish offers information on COVID-19 testing, visitor guidelines, COVID-19 Virtual Care Program, and more.
The LiveWell app makes it easy for families to manage their health all in one place.
Anyone experiencing COVID 19 symptoms or who believes they have been exposed, should visit our Symptom Checker in English or Spanish or call our hotline at 866 443 2584 both available 24/7 to find out what to do next.
COVID-19 Toolkits and Campaigns
The Ad Council Vaccine Education Initiative offers toolkits for Black faith communities and Hispanic faith communities. Toolkits include Bible study and sermon guide, FAQs, graphics and more.

Faith and COVID-19 vaccine toolkit provides updates, stories, resources from Religion News Service and Interfaith Youth Core 
THE CONVERSATION: Between Us, About Us is produced by KFF (Kaiser Family Foundation), a nonprofit organization focusing on national health issues (no affiliation with Kaiser Permanente), and presented by KFF’s Greater Than COVID public information initiative and the Black Coalition Against COVID. Learn more.
The Ad Council's COVID-19 vaccine campaign, “It’s Up to You,” includes FAQs in English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Russian, Haitian Creole and Vietnamese. The campaign also offers COVID-19 Vaccine Education resources in English and Spanish, including some that are intended for faith community audiences:
The Partnership Center for Faith-based & Neighborhood Partnerships offers a FAQ and guide to support vaccine confidence for faith and community leaders. 'All in' Against COVID-19 offers step-by-step recommendations, such as:

  • Get and Share the Facts about COVID-19 and risk factors
  • Get Vaccinated: includes information on when and where the public can get the vaccine
  • Get Involved: includes ways to inform your community, encourage your members to get vaccinated and to help stop the spread of COVID-19
  • Getting Resources: includes links to CDC resources
We Want to Hear From You!

We hope you find this update helpful as you promote the health of your members and community. Please contact Cindy Novak if you have questions or topics you'd like us to address. Thank you
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