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Health Experts Say It's A Matter Of Time Before Omicron Variant Arrives In Illinois

CHICAGO (CBS) -- There have been no cases of the COVID-19 Omicron variant in Illinois, but health experts believe it's just a matter of time.

They have doubled the number of tests for the Omicron but say the current cases are still alarmingly high.

"Regardless of Omicron, we are very much in a surge already," said Dr. Allison Arwady, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health. "After Thanksgiving we broke a record for the number of positive COVID tests in the City of Chicago going all the way back to January."

She made those statements at an event encouraging vaccinations for children.

The city is keeping a close eye on the schools, but so far there are no plans to go back to remote learning.

The vast majority of the new cases are in people who are unvaccinated.

Health experts say getting vaccinated -- and boosted if eligible -- remains the best way to prevent severe illness from COVID-19.

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