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Will City Workers Have To Get Vaccinated? Lightfoot Says Announcement Coming Soon

Lightfoot also appeared to back off from a suggestion that a mask requirement would return if the city was seeing an average of 200 new cases per day.

Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines are administered by Jewel-Osco pharmacists to union workers at the IUOE Local 399 union hall ahead of Vice President Kamala Harris's visit to discuss vaccine rollouts and union work in Chicago on April 6, 2021.
Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
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CHICAGO — Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she’ll soon have an announcement on if city workers will be required to get vaccinated against coronavirus.

Chicago hasn’t yet said city workers are required to be vaccinated, but officials are talking to unions and looking at other cities to see how they’ve implemented vaccination policies, Lightfoot said at a Thursday news conference.

Officials are “crafting a strategy that works for Chicago, but we’ll be making an announcement shortly,” Lightfoot said.

On Monday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced all unvaccinated city workers must be tested for COVID-19 weekly starting in September. This will include police officers, firefighters and teachers. In Los Angeles, a mask mandate has returned following a surge in cases, and all California state employees will have to be vaccinated or be tested weekly.

In France, President Emmanuel Macron has ordered all health care workers to get vaccinated and will deny unvaccinated people entry into many indoor public venues. Other countries plan to follow suit.

Lightfoot said earlier this week the city is “looking at a lot of different options,” including requiring vaccinations of workers, to keep people safe as Chicago’s COVID-19 positivity rate and average number of daily new cases have gone up.

Lightfoot also said this weekend she’d consider bringing back a mask mandate if the city consistently saw an average of 200 new COVID-19 cases per day. But the mayor appeared to back off from that on Thursday.

The city is now averaging 190 new cases per day, but it’s seen multiple days this week that had more than 200 cases — including 203 cases reported in the past day. But Lightfoot has not yet committed to bringing back a mask requirement.

“The goalpost isn’t moving,” the city’s officials are using multiple metrics to determine if they’ll bring back a mask mandate or safety restrictions, Lightfoot said. “We’re concerned about this steady creep up.

“… [But] we’re not seeing a huge surge in hospitalizations. That’s important. Or ICU beds. Or people on ventilators.”

At the same time, Lollapalooza runs Thursday-Friday. Some have called on Lightfoot to cancel the event, fearful the festival — which routinely attracts 100,000 people per day — could turn into a super-spreader event.

Lightfoot and health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady have defended the festival, though Arwady acknowledged Wednesday there will almost certainly be coronavirus cases associated with the event.


• In Illinois, about 6.4 million people of all ages — or 50.7 percent of the state’s 12.7 million people — have gotten all their COVID-19 vaccine shots, according to state data.

• Across the state, 21,291 vaccine doses are being administered per day, based on a seven-day rolling average.

• Illinois and Chicago have administered at least 13,187,171 vaccine doses of the 14,756,185 provided to them.

• City data shows more than 1.39 million Chicagoans — or 52 percent of all residents — have gotten fully vaccinated. About 58.1 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:

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

• At least 23,432 people have died from COVID-19 in Illinois, and another 2,476 deaths are probably related to the virus, according to the state.

• The state reported 1,691 cases since Wednesday. That brings the total number of confirmed cases in Illinois up to 1,417,263.

• Since Wednesday, 48,275 tests were reported statewide. In all, 26,768,999 tests have been reported in Illinois.

• Illinois’ seven-day positivity rate was at 4 percent. The figure represents the percentage of people testing positive among recent tests. It was also at 4 percent Wednesday.

• Illinois’ seven-day test positivity rate, which measures the percentage of tests that were positive, was at 4.6 percent. It was at 4.4 percent Wednesday.

• As of Wednesday night, 179 people with COVID-19 were in the ICU and 67 people with COVID-19 were using ventilators in Illinois.

• In Chicago, four deaths were reported since Wednesday. There have been at least 5,504 deaths from COVID-19 in Chicago. The city is seeing an average of less than one death per day, a 50 percent decrease from the week prior.

• Chicago has had 203 confirmed cases reported since Wednesday. It’s had a total of 289,408 confirmed cases. An average of 190 confirmed cases are being reported per day, a 63 percent increase from the week prior.

• At the same time, testing has increased 2 percent since a week ago.

• Chicago’s positivity rate was at 3 percent, up from 1.8 percent the week prior.

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