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Chicago Making ‘Some Improvement’ Against Coronavirus, City’s Top Doctor Says

Chicago saw its first day without a coronavirus-related death since March, Dr. Allison Arwady, head of the Chicago Department of Public Health, said Tuesday.

Pedestrians wear masks in the Hyde Park neighborhood amid the COVID-19 pandemic on September 3, 2020.
Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
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CHICAGO — The city saw a day without anyone dying from coronavirus for the first time since March, Chicago’s top doctor said Tuesday.

New cases of coronavirus have fallen in Chicago in recent weeks, and deaths have been low for weeks.

And, finally, on Aug. 31, there was not a single reported death from coronavirus, Dr. Allison Arwady, head of the Chicago Department of Public Health, said Tuesday. That’s the first time there’s been a day without a death since March, when the pandemic began for Chicago.

The milestone comes as the city is “seeing some improvement” in its case numbers after weeks of climbing numbers, Arwady said at a press conference.

As of Tuesday, an average of 263 new cases are being reported and two people are dying per day in Chicago. Chicago’s positivity rate is at 5.2 percent.

The city has seen at least 2,915 deaths and 75,389 confirmed cases.

Statewide, there were 20 deaths and 1,466 new cases reported Tuesday. Among the victims were five people in Cook County.

Coronavirus has killed at least 8,332 people statewide, and there have been 264,210 confirmed cases. The state’s positivity rate is at 3.6 percent.

As of Monday night, 1,584 people were hospitalized with coronavirus in Illinois, including 373 people in the ICU and 144 people using ventilators.

Coronavirus is still spreading in Chicago, Arwady said, “particularly when people are feeling the most comfortable and the most celebratory,” as they let their guard down around neighbors, friends and extended family.

“In birthday parties, in barbecues, in family celebrations and weddings. This week, we had an outbreak at a retirement party, for example,” Arwady said.

People should continue to wear masks, indoors and outdoors, around people who aren’t part of their household, she said.

But the city has seen drops in new cases among Latino people — who have been particularly hard-hit by the pandemic — and among people ages 18-29, who have made up the bulk of new cases for several months, Arwady said. She credited the drop to outreach efforts in the city’s neighborhoods.

It’s “reassuring” that the city has kept the rate of cases low among elderly people, which has also contributed to the low number of deaths in Chicago, Arwady said. But the city still needs to get its daily number of new cases below 200 and lower its percent positivity, she said.

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