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Coronavirus Progress Is ‘Fragile At Best’ As 113 More People Die Statewide

An additional 1,614 people tested positive for the virus in the past day.

Alivio Medical Center's Pilsen drive-thru COVID-19 testing site in the Lower West Side neighborhood in action on Saturday, May 9, 2020. | Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
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CHICAGO — Chicago and Illinois have seen progress in the battle against coronavirus, but deaths and new cases continued to mount Tuesday and Chicago’s top health official called the progress “fragile at best.”

Statewide, there were 113 more people lost to COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, raising the state’s total deaths to 5,525.

An additional 1,614 people tested positive for the virus. There have now been 122,848 people with confirmed cases.

There are 874 people with COVID-19 in intensive care unit beds statewide, with 548 on ventilators. Both are improvements from a week ago.

In Chicago, 2,135 people have died from coronavirus, and 45,912 have had confirmed cases.

Dr. Allison Arwady, head of the Chicago Department of Public Health, noted deaths, new cases and new hospitalizations continue to decline in the city. Of people tested, 15 percent are positive, a “positivity rate” below the 20 percent standard set to begin reopening the city. That is expected to happen Wednesday as the city enters a gradual Phase 3 reopening.

But there are still more than 1,100 people in Chicago hospital beds with coronavirus and a fear public gatherings, warm weather and the continued protests of the killing of George Floyd can reverse the trend, Arwady said.

“It means that we are not done,” Arwady said. “This progress is fragile at best.

“In a city that still has a lot of COVID-19, our risk is simply higher than it is … in other parts of the country. The chance that a gathering will have someone in it who has COVID-19 but doesn’t even know it … that risk is present and it is higher.

“And so, again, if people have been in gatherings for any reason, protest-related or not, prior to the lifting of the stay at home order in Chicago which will be coming tomorrow, you are at increased risk for spreading COVID.”

She urged people who know they’ve been in close contact with others to self-quarantine for 14 days to ensure they don’t unwittingly spread the virus to others. If you don’t do that, at least stay away from people more vulnerable to terrible effects of the disease, including people over 60 and those with underlying health conditions, she said.

“We need you, please, not to forget about COVID and to limit the opportunities that it has to spread,” she said. “As we move forward, please, keep doing what has worked so well so far here in Chicago: Keep staying home if you’re even a little bit sick or you’ve been potentially exposed to someone with COVID. Keep that 6-foot distance … . Keep wearing the cloth face coverings.”

Block Club Chicago’s coronavirus coverage is free for all readers. Block Club is an independent, 501(c)(3), journalist-run newsroom.

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