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Chicagoans Should Wear Masks Indoors To Stop Spread Of ‘Very Contagious Delta Variant,’ Health Department Says

The announcement comes as masks also are being urged in suburban Cook County and required inside state-run buildings.

People wear masks as they move through Terminal 1 at O'Hare International Airport on May 9, 2021.
Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
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CHICAGO — Chicago health officials are urging people to once again wear masks in indoor public settings, as the city’s new coronavirus cases continue to rise.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced earlier this week it’d advise all people — including those who are fully vaccinated — to wear masks indoors in areas seeing “substantial or high transmission.”

Chicago has surpassed 200 new daily cases, so the city now falls into the “substantial” category, Chicago Department of Public Health officials said Friday.

Anyone over age 2, regardless of vaccination status, should wear masks indoors while out in public. Masks still remain optional for outdoors because the risk of transmission is lower.

The mask recommendation comes as new data shows the rapidly spreading Delta variant of coronavirus, which is pushing up cases and positivity rates, could be as infectious as chicken pox and more contagious than than the common cold, flu and Ebola. Even fully vaccinated people can transmit it, which is different from past variants of the disease.

RELATED: Delta Variant Could Be As Contagious As Chickenpox, New Data Suggests — As Chicago Holds World’s Largest Music Festival

Still, being vaccinated offers the best protection, health officials say. Anyone over 12 should get vaccinated, Arwady said.

“We are taking this step to prevent further spread of the very contagious Delta variant and to protect public health,” said Allison Arwady, CDPH commissioner. “This isn’t forever, but it is necessary to help decrease the risk for all Chicagoans right now.”


• In Illinois, about 6.4 million people of all ages — or 50.78 percent of the state’s 12.7 million people — have gotten all their COVID-19 vaccine shots, according to state data.

• Across the state, 22,064 vaccine doses are being administered per day, based on a seven-day rolling average.

• Illinois and Chicago have administered at least 13,211,304 vaccine doses of the 14,844,245 provided to them.

• City data shows more than 1.4 million Chicagoans — or 52.2 percent of all residents — have gotten fully vaccinated. About 58.5 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:

• Eight Illinoisans were reported dead from COVID-19 since Thursday.

• At least 23,440 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 2,348 cases since Thursday. That brings the total number of confirmed cases in Illinois up to 1,419,611.

• Since Thursday, 54,563 tests were reported statewide. In all, 26,823,562 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 Thursday.

• Illinois’ seven-day test positivity rate, which measures the percentage of tests that were positive, was at 4.7 percent. It was at 4.6 percent Thursday.

• As of Thursday night, 167 people with COVID-19 were in the ICU and 62 people with COVID-19 were using ventilators in Illinois.

• In Chicago, one death was reported since Thursday. There have been at least 5,505 deaths from COVID-19 in Chicago. The city is seeing an average of one death per day, a 75 percent decrease from the week prior.

• Chicago has had 316 confirmed cases reported since Thursday. It’s had a total of 289,724 confirmed cases. An average of 192 confirmed cases are being reported per day, a 64 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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