Chicago COVID: Oak Park and River Forest High School cancels all activates through winter break due to uptick in cases | #coronavirus | #kids. | #children | #schools

OAK PARK, Ill. (WLS) — A west suburban high school is canceling all activities through the winter break due to a “concerning uptick in positive cases of COVID,” school officials announced Friday night.The health department has directed Oak Park River Forest High School to immediately cancel all clubs, athletics, and extra-curricular activities including practices and competitions effective Saturday, December 4 through winter break, according to an email that was sent out to students, staff and families.

The school reported 17 new COVID cases in the past week, school officials said.”We understand that this announcement is disappointing and frustrating, especially as our winter extra-curricular activities were just getting underway. However, protecting the health and safety of our entire community is our utmost priority,” the email said. “As a result, we are working to gather more information, thoroughly determine the best course of action for the next two weeks, and get answers to the many questions that this announcement will generate.”

The news comes as Illinois reported 7,558 new virus cases and 36 deaths Friday. The number of hospitalized COVID patients in Illinois has risen 85% in the past month.

RELATED: Only 8 ICU beds available in Kankakee, Will counties as hospitalizations spike in Illinois

A number of state health officials attribute the increase at this time partly to Thanksgiving gatherings, and are concerned about the likely appearance of the omicron variant any day.

IDPH released a statement Friday, saying, “Illinois’ 7-day rolling average for both cases and deaths are increasing, and over the past month, the daily number of people in the hospital with COVID-19 has risen from about 1,300 people to more than 2,400. While we continue to watch for Omicron and sequence specimens for the variant, 99% of cases in Illinois are Delta. The vaccines remain effective against hospitalization and death due to Delta and we urge everyone 5 years and older to be vaccinated and everyone 18 years and older to get a booster when it’s time. Masking, distancing, testing, and avoiding crowds can help reduce spread and offer protection against COVID-19, including Omicron.”

Local health officials expect the omicron variant to inevitably show up in the state, but Governor JB Pritzker said Thursday there are currently no plans to impose any statewide restrictions.

“What we are watching are hospitalizations, and the seriousness of illness, as well as people going into hospitals and overall hospital capacity,” he said.

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