CHICAGO — Thirty-nine more people died from coronavirus across Illinois during the past day, and Chicago’s top health official warned the outbreak is not under control.
Among the most recent victims were eight people in Cook County, including a woman in her 30s. At least 8,064 people have died from the virus in Illinois.
Dr. Allison Arwady, head of the Chicago Department of Public Health, said the entire state is struggling with coronavirus. Chicago’s outbreak hasn’t seen the sharp surge other parts of Illinois have, she said, but even here new cases are growing and we’re nearing a warning point where the city could bring back restrictions.
“We are still seeing slow increases in COVID-19,” Arwady said during a Tuesday press conference. “We are not out of the woods.”
Another 1,492 cases were reported throughout Illinois, bringing the total up to 236,515. The state’s positivity rate rose to 4.3 percent.
As of Monday night, 1,513 people were hospitalized with coronavirus in Illinois, including 362 people in the ICU and 146 people using ventilators.
In Chicago, an average of 348 new cases and three deaths are being reported daily. The city’s positivity rate is at 5.3 percent.
Chicago has seen 71,285 confirmed cases and at least 2,877 deaths.
Arwady warned again hitting 400 new cases per day will be a turning point where Chicago will have to seriously look at bringing back restrictions to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
The doctor said she’s also concerned about the city’s high positivity rate, as she wants it under 5 percent.
“There is a lot of COVID in Chicago, and we don’t want to have to take steps back,” Arwady said.
Hospitalizations and deaths remain stable, Arwady said, though that still means about three Chicagoans are dying per day from coronavirus and up to 20 Chicagoans are being hospitalized daily with the virus.
More than half of new cases are being reported in people who identify as Latino, Arwady said, and a large number of new cases are still being found among people age 18-29. People age 30-39 and 40-49 are also seeing a lot of new cases.
Gatherings have been a continued issue; just recently, 13 people who attended a pool party tested positive for the virus within days of the party, and they spread the virus to family members, teammates, friends and others, Arwady said.
Arwady urged people to continue to follow health guidelines — like social distancing and not gathering — and to get a flu shot to prevent a flu epidemic on top of the coronavirus pandemic this fall and winter.
But the doctor said she’s concerned about all of Illinois, as well as the rest of the Midwest.
“Really, the whole state, including Chicago, is at a warning level for our number of new cases …,” Arwady said. “My worry, frankly, where I think about a surge is that even if it is slow, if we continue to see these increases that we are seeing, that becomes a surge.
“We are not seeing the very rapid increases, like we saw in March and April, that really threatened to overwhelm our health care system. But even this slow increase — particularly as I think about a slow increase layered on top of colder weather coming, less ability to have gatherings outside …, and we think about flu and other viruses that tend to spread more in the wintertime — I am really worried about what the fall and winter are going to look like here in Chicago, here in Cook County, here in Illinois and here in the Midwest.”
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