CHICAGO — Coronavirus killed another 26 people throughout Illinois during the last day, officials said Monday.
In all, the state has now lost 6,671 people to the virus — including 2,505 in Chicago. The last day also saw 462 more people test positive for COVID-19, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in Illinois to 137,224.
Monday also saw Mayor Lori Lightfoot announce Chicago will move into Phase 4 of reopening Friday, the same time as the rest of the state will progress.
During Phase 4, museums, zoos, movie theaters, performance venues and summer camps return, and people will be able to eat and drink indoors. Gyms will be able to have customers return for indoor workouts, and people will be able to gather in groups of 50 people indoors and up to 100 people outdoors.
Lightfoot said those changes are coming because Chicago has made so much progress in its fight against coronavirus. New cases, hospitalizations and deaths have all fallen — and those numbers declined even quicker than officials estimated they would.
Chicago now has a test positivity rate of 4.9 percent and is seeing 167 new confirmed cases of coronavirus per day, said Dr. Allison Arwady, head of the Chicago Department of Public Health.
“It’s because of the sheer commitment and sacrifice of all Chicago residents and businesses that we’re able now to safely take the next step,” Lightfoot said.
But if Chicago does see new waves of cases after reopening, it could take a step back and some businesses could close again, Lightfoot said.
The mayor encouraged people to keep wearing masks in public, to wash their hands, practice social distancing and stay home if sick. Those measures can help Chicago avoid spikes in confirmed cases, which other cities and states have seen as they’ve reopened, Lightfoot said.
Arwady said that Chicago is still a city with a moderately high risk of COVID-19, meaning anytime people gather in a group of 50 there’s a 15 percent change someone there has coronavirus. In a group of 100 people, there’s a 30 percent chance someone there has COVID-19.
“Moving to Phase 4 does not mark the end of COVID-19,” Arwady said. “It marks the beginning of another step forward and another opportunity for you in Chicago to double down on the things we know keep us safe and the things that will allow us to reopen further.”
Lightfoot said Chicago will tweak its guidelines as it continues in Phase 4. Capacity limits will be raised as the number of new cases declines, she said. And officials have kept the lakefront, beaches and playgrounds closed — but they’ll reevaluate that as the summer goes on.
“Our job now is to be safe,” Lightfoot said. “In order to be safe, we have to follow the guidance.
“… The only way we continue to move through Phase 4 and into another place is if we continue to be smart and selfless in making sure that we follow the various guidelines.”
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