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Coronavirus On The Rise In Illinois, But Chicago’s Flat For Now, Top Doctor Says

"The main thing is all around us, cases are on the incline. ... We look good in Chicago right now, but Chicago doesn't have a wall around it."

A cyclist wears a mask and walks in the Lincoln Square neighborhood on Friday, May 29, 2020.
Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
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CHICAGO — Coronavirus cases are again rising throughout the United States, but Chicago’s numbers are flat, the city’s top doctor said Thursday.

Dr. Allison Arwady, head of the Chicago Department of Public Health, said the rest of Illinois is beginning to see a rise in confirmed cases — as are parts of Cook County and nearby states, like Indiana.

That rise hasn’t hit Chicago yet, Arwady said, but it shows people here need to be diligent and keep up with safety measures.

“The main thing is all around us, cases are on the incline,” Arwady said during a livestreamed Q&A. “The state of Illinois, as a state, is going up. Not dramatically up, but it’s going up.

“It is a national story. … We look good in Chicago right now, but Chicago doesn’t have a wall around it.”

The city’s positivity rate — which is the percent of people who are tested and are confirmed to have COVID-19 — is 4.6 percent. The city is reporting an average of 169 confirmed cases per day and nine deaths.

RELATED: 869 New Confirmed Coronavirus Cases, 36 Deaths In Illinois In Past Day

Arwady said she expects Chicago’s number of new cases will stay relatively flat this week, though it had been on the decline for several weeks.

There could be a slight rise, though, given the city’s reopening, Arwady said.

“The goal, of course, is to not get into a situation where we’re seeing major increases or anything out of control,” Arwady said.

Cases, deaths and hospitalizations have been rapidly rising all across the United States, and a record of nearly 50,000 new cases were reported for the country Wednesday.

The rises in the Midwest have generally been “slight,” Arwady said, while those in the South and West have been “dramatic.”

“I think everybody in the U.S. should be worried about the way things are going in this country related to COVID,” Arwady said.

Other places — from New York City to California, Texas and Florida — have had to take steps back in reopening or are considering delaying anymore changes. Mayor Lori Lightfoot has said officials here are keeping an eye on the metrics and will move back as needed.

Arwady and Lightfoot urged people to continue wearing face coverings, practicing social distancing and washing their hands.

“Despite what’s happening in the rest of Illinois, Chicago still continues to trend in the right direction,” Lightfoot said during a Thursday press conference. “And we want to make sure that, that continues to be the case, but we can’t get there if people don’t take this public health guidance seriously.”

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