CHICAGO — The city of Chicago will fully reopen June 11 along with the rest of Illinois, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Thursday.
Gov. JB Pritzker said earlier this week Illinois is on track to move into Phase 5 — a relative return to normalcy — on June 11 as daily coronavirus cases and other metrics have plunged. But it was uncertain until Thursday morning if Chicago would follow suit.
Lightfoot joined Dr. Allison Arwady, head of the Chicago Department of Public Health, during a livestream to say Chicago will move forward with reopening.
“I think we’re ready to move to Phase 5 with the state next Friday, June 11,” Lightfoot said. “What do you think?”
Arwady said, “I agree. I agree. Now is the time to do this. These numbers are looking so good right now.”
During Phase 5, capacity restrictions will be lifted at all businesses and life will return to a new “normal.” All people will still need to wear masks in certain settings, including schools, health care facilities and on public transit, but fully vaccinated people won’t need masks in most settings. Unvaccinated people should still wear masks in most public settings, officials have said.
The news comes as new COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths have plunged in Chicago and across the state. Chicago’s average number of cases per day and its positivity rate are at their lowest points since the start of the pandemic in March 2020.
“It’s not just that this news is good. It’s great,” Arwady said.
It’s possible there will be another surge of cases in the fall and winter, which could mean restrictions are brought back, Arwady and Lightfoot said. But for now, the numbers look good, Arwady said.
“A note of caution: COVID’s still here, still with us,” Lightfoot said.
People getting vaccinated is still the best bet for ending the pandemic, reopening businesses and having the world return to normal, officials have said. More people getting vaccinated also means there are fewer chances for variants of COVID-19 to develop and spread, which would endanger people and pose a threat to reopening efforts.
Everyone 12 and older is eligible to get vaccinated in Chicago and throughout Illinois. The vaccinations are free and do not require insurance.
Anyone can call the city’s coronavirus hotline at 312-746-4835 to get more information on how and where to get vaccinated in their community.
In Illinois, about 5.3 million people of all ages — or 41.74 percent of the state’s 12.7 million people — have gotten all their COVID-19 vaccination shots, according to state data.
Across the state, 37,328 vaccine doses are being administered per day, based on a seven-day rolling average. Illinois and Chicago have administered at least 11,374,677 vaccine doses of the 13,788,135 provided to them.
City data shows more than 1.1 million Chicagoans — or 42 percent of all residents — have gotten fully vaccinated. About 52.2 percent of all Chicagoans have gotten at least one shot. Among Chicagoans 65 and older, 70.7 percent have gotten at least one dose, while 61.8 percent have finished their vaccination.
Another 24 Illinoisans were reported dead from coronavirus since Wednesday.
The most recent coronavirus victims included seven people from Cook County, including a man in his 30s.
At least 22,865 people have died from COVID-19 in Illinois, and another 2,400 deaths are probably related to the virus, according to the state.
The state reported 674 cases since Wednesday. That brings the total number of confirmed cases in Illinois up to 1,383,739.
Illinois’ seven-day positivity rate held at 1.5 percent Thursday with 55,432 tests reported. The figure represents the percentage of people testing positive among recent tests.
Illinois’ seven-day test positivity rate, which measures the percentage of tests that were positive, fell to 1.7 percent Thursday. It was at 1.8 percent Wednesday.
As of Wednesday night, 997 people were hospitalized with coronavirus in Illinois, including 273 people in the ICU and 154 people using ventilators.
In Chicago, seven deaths and 128 confirmed cases were reported since Wednesday. There have been at least 5,370 deaths from COVID-19 in Chicago and 284,545 confirmed cases, according to state data.
The city is seeing an average of four deaths per day, down from six per day the week prior.
An average of 135 confirmed cases are being reported per day, a 44 percent decrease from the previous week. At the same time, testing has fallen 13 percent since a week ago.
The city’s seven-day positivity rate is at 2 percent, down from 2.9 percent the week before.
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