People exit the United Center mass vaccination site in the Near West Side neighborhood on March 9, 2021. Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago

CHICAGO — Chicago’s seen major progress in the fight to regain control of its COVID-19 outbreak — another sign the city’s mask and vaccine card requirements could soon be gone, the health commissioner said this week.

After hitting Omicron peaks in late December and early January, the city has seen a steep decline in confirmed COVID-19 cases per day and its positivity rate.

“This news keeps looking good,” Dr. Allison Arwady, head of the Chicago Department of Public Health, said during a livestream Thursday.

Chicago’s positivity rate — which was at 4 percent as of Friday morning — is back in the lower-risk category for transmission.

Chicago is still considered very high risk for transmission when it comes to new confirmed cases per day, though, with an average of 870 per day. And the city is seeing a high number of deaths, with an average of 15 Chicagoans dying per day from COVID-19.

Officials have said that if the recent progress continues, it could soon mean an end to Chicago’s requirement that people show proof of vaccination at restaurants, bars and other venues.

The city’s indoor mask requirement might also be done away with soon if the number continue to fall, Arwady has said.

But those requirements won’t be lifted until Chicago’s less at risk, Arwady said.

“When might we be able to take off masks? When might we be able to lift the vaccine requirement? Not next week, I can tell you that,” Arwady said Thursday. “But if we continue to see the drops like we’ve been dropping, it would not be that long from now, I think.”

Even if Chicago’s mask requirement is lifted, there is still a statewide requirement for people to wear masks when indoors in public.


• In Illinois, about 7.9 million people — or 62.42 percent of the state’s 12.7 million people — are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to state data.

• Across the state, 28,626 vaccine doses are being administered per day, based on a seven-day rolling average.

• Illinois and Chicago have administered at least 20,623,484 vaccine doses of the 23,201,345 provided to them.

• City data shows more than 1.8 million Chicagoans — or 67.2 percent of all residents — are fully vaccinated, and 75.6 percent of all Chicagoans have gotten at least one shot.

Everyone 5 and older is eligible to get vaccinated in Chicago.

COVID-19 vaccinations are free and do not require insurance. Anyone can call the city’s coronavirus hotline at 312-746-4835 to get more information on how and where to get vaccinated in their community.

The numbers:

• Since Wednesday, 173 Illinoisans were reported dead from COVID-19.

• At least 31,296 people have died from COVID-19 in Illinois, and another 3,861 deaths are probably related to the virus, according to the state.

• The state reported 18,464 cases since Wednesday. That brings the total number of confirmed cases in Illinois up to 2,957,563.

• Since Wednesday, 347,872 tests were reported statewide. In all, 51,846,053 tests have been reported in Illinois.

• Illinois’ seven-day case positivity rate was at 5.8 percent. The figure represents the percentage of people testing positive among recent tests. It was at 6.3 percent Wednesday.

• Illinois’ seven-day test positivity rate, which measures the percentage of tests that were positive, was at 8 percent. It was at 8.2 percent Wednesday.

• As of Thursday night, 546 people with COVID-19 were in the ICU and 314 people with COVID-19 were using ventilators in Illinois.

• In Chicago, 21 deaths were reported since Wednesday. There have been at least 6,998 deaths from COVID-19 in Chicago. The city is seeing an average of 15 people dying per day, down 37 percent from a week ago.

• Chicago has had 2,839 confirmed cases reported since Wednesday. It’s had a total of 547,810 confirmed cases. An average of 870 confirmed cases are being reported per day, down 47 percent from a week ago.

• Testing in Chicago is down 11 percent from a week ago.

• Chicago’s positivity rate was at 4 percent, down from 6.8 percent a week ago.

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