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Chicago Sees 291 Coronavirus Cases In 1 Day As Delta Fuels A Spike — And As People ‘Forget About COVID,’ Top Doc Says

"Fifty out of 50 states are seeing increases like this. We remain broadly in control at this point," Dr. Allison Arwady said.

People wearing masks enjoy the warm spring weather at Promontory Point in Hyde Park on April 26, 2021.
Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
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CHICAGO — Nearly 300 cases of coronavirus were reported in Chicago during the past day, the highest that figure has been since late May.

The spike comes just a day after Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Dr. Allison Arwady, head of the health department, warned Chicago is seeing its COVID-19 numbers tick up — threatening people’s health and the city’s reopening.

Every part of the country is seeing an increase in cases. The wave is being driven by the more contagious Delta variant — as well as by people who think they can live normally and “forget about COVID” even if they’re not fully vaccinated, Arwady said during a Thursday livestream.

“Unfortunately, that’s just not true,” Arwady said. “And so we see here in Chicago, we’re now averaging 108 cases per day. That is up from an average of 58 a week ago.”

The city’s positivity rate is rising, too, hitting 1.8 percent as of Thursday, a jump from 1 percent a week ago. Chicago is considered to be in “low risk” territory in that area if the positivity rate stays below 2 percent.

The same is happening across Illinois, which reported nearly 2,000 cases in the past day. The state’s positivity rate has climbed to 3 percent.

Chicago’s outbreak is still relatively under control, though, Arwady said.

Many places are “jealous” of where Chicago’s numbers are right now — particularly when it comes to hospitalizations and deaths, which remain at all-time lows during the pandemic, Arwady said.

“Fifty out of 50 states are seeing increases like this. We remain broadly in control at this point,” Arwady said.

RELATED: Delta Variant Will Make Up Majority Of Chicago’s COVID Cases By Next Month — But Vaccines Can Protect You, Officials Say

Officials have urged people to get fully vaccinated so they can be protected against all variants of COVID-19, including Delta. The three vaccines being used in the United States have all been shown to be largely effective at preventing severe illness and death from the Delta variant, Arwady said.

The surge in Delta cases has had the biggest impact on unvaccinated people: More than 95 percent of locals who are hospitalized or who have recently died from COVID-19 didn’t have all their vaccine shots, Lightfoot said Tuesday.

“We first see the rises in cases, and then it takes some time for some of those folks to be getting sicker, to get hospitalized, et cetera,” Arwady said. “I remain very confident that with the current variants, our current level of vaccine protection — this isn’t like the first two really bad surges where we were concerned about overwhelming the health system. It’s more of an increase we are seeing landing in unvaccinated conditions, by and large.”

But Chicago can expect to see its numbers keep rising, Arwady said.

“We’re increasing fairly quickly,” Arwady said. “I expect this, unfortunately, to keep going up.”


• In Illinois, about 6.4 million people of all ages — or 50.23 percent of the state’s 12.7 million people — have gotten all their COVID-19 vaccine shots, according to state data.

• Across the state, 20,340 vaccine doses are being administered per day, based on a seven-day rolling average.

• Illinois and Chicago have administered at least 13,038,137 vaccine doses of the 14,531,345 provided to them.

• City data shows more than 1.39 million Chicagoans — or 51.6 percent of all residents — have gotten fully vaccinated. About 57.6 percent of all Chicagoans have gotten at least one shot.

COVID-19 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.

The numbers:

• Six Illinoisans were reported dead from COVID-19 since Wednesday.

• At least 23,398 people have died from COVID-19 in Illinois, and another 2,462 deaths are probably related to the virus, according to the state.

• The state reported 1,993 cases since Wednesday. That brings the total number of confirmed cases in Illinois up to 1,406,459.

• Since Wednesday, 52,707 tests were reported statewide. In all, 26,497,201 tests have been reported in Illinois.

• Illinois’ seven-day positivity rate was at 3 percent. The figure represents the percentage of people testing positive among recent tests. It was at 2.7 percent Wednesday.

• Illinois’ seven-day test positivity rate, which measures the percentage of tests that were positive, was at 3.3 percent. It was at 3 percent Wednesday.

• As of Wednesday night, 119 people with COVID-19 were in the ICU and 39 people with COVID-19 were using ventilators in Illinois.

• In Chicago, one death was reported since Wednesday. There have been at least 5,496 deaths from COVID-19 in Chicago. The city is seeing an average of less than one death per day, a 25 percent decrease from the week prior.

• Chicago has had 291 confirmed cases reported since Wednesday. It’s had a total of 287,898 confirmed cases. An average of 108 confirmed cases are being reported per day, a 86 percent increase from the week prior.

• At the same time, testing has decreased 8 percent since a week ago.

• Chicago’s positivity rate was at 1.8 percent, up from 1 percent the week prior.

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