Lakeview Pantry volunteer Karen Josefowicz receives her first dose of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at the vaccination site next to Wrigley Field on April 5, 2021. Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago

CHICAGO — The Delta surge is “very much here” in Chicago, Chicago’s top doctor said Tuesday.

Officials have warned for weeks about a growing wave of COVID-19 fueled by the more contagious Delta variant. More than 98 percent of recent cases in Chicago, in Illinois and across the United States are thought to stem from that variant, Dr. Allison Arwady, head of the Chicago Department of Public Health, said during a Tuesday livestream.

That’s driven up COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths among Chicagoans.

For months, Chicago was only seeing about one person die per day from coronavirus; now, an average of more than three Chicagoans die per day from the virus.

Hospitalizations are up, too, though those and deaths remain far lower than during previous surges. Arwady’s said that largely because vaccines are now available and are better protecting people.

“… Our cases are continuing to increase,” Arwady said. “But the good news is our hospitalizations have continued to be relatively low — about 15 new hospitalizations a day.”

The local surge has not been as bad as in other places, like Florida and Texas, where some hospitals have been overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients.

And Chicago — which is among the most-vaccinated parts of Illinois — is faring better than southern Illinois, where “COVID is really surging,” Arwady said.

“The whole state is definitely getting hard, but a lot of the rest of the country is, unfortunately, getting hit even harder,” Arwady said.

RELATED: 12 States Added To Chicago’s Travel Advisory, Biggest Addition To List In Months

This wave has had the deepest impact among unvaccinated people, who account for the vast majority of people hospitalized with and dying from COVID-19 in recent months, officials have said.

As Delta has spread, slightly more Chicago residents are again getting vaccinated, which is a positive, Arwady said.

The vaccines are free and do not require insurance. They have been shown to largely prevent serious illness and death from COVID-19.

“As Delta has been getting here a lot of people have been taking advantage and getting that vaccine, which is good to see,” Arwady said.


• In Illinois, about 6.6 million people of all ages — or 52 percent of the state’s 12.7 million people — have gotten all their COVID-19 vaccine shots, according to state data.

• Across the state, 24,965 vaccine doses are being administered per day, based on a seven-day rolling average.

• Illinois and Chicago have administered at least 13,393,429 vaccine doses of the 15,159,305 provided to them.

• City data shows more than 1.44 million Chicagoans — or 53.6 percent of all residents — have gotten fully vaccinated. About 58.7 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:

• Ten Illinoisans were reported dead from COVID-19 since Monday.

• At least 23,542 people have died from COVID-19 in Illinois, and another 2,492 deaths are probably related to the virus, according to the state.

• The state reported 2,950 cases since Monday. That brings the total number of confirmed cases in Illinois up to 1,447,161.

• Since Monday, 51,843 tests were reported statewide. In all, 27,403,429 tests have been reported in Illinois.

• Illinois’ seven-day positivity rate was at 4.8 percent. The figure represents the percentage of people testing positive among recent tests. It was at 4.9 percent Monday.

• Illinois’ seven-day test positivity rate, which measures the percentage of tests that were positive, was at 5.7 percent. It was at 5.6 percent Monday.

• As of Monday night, 300 people with COVID-19 were in the ICU and 136 people with COVID-19 were using ventilators in Illinois.

• In Chicago, seven deaths were reported since Monday. There have been at least 5,535 deaths from COVID-19 in Chicago. The city is seeing an average of more than three deaths per day, a 156 percent increase from the week prior.

• Chicago has had 368 confirmed cases reported since Monday. It’s had a total of 293,480 confirmed cases. An average of 362 confirmed cases are being reported per day, a 44 percent increase from the week prior.

• At the same time, testing has increased 27 percent since a week ago.

• Chicago’s positivity rate was at 3.8 percent, up from 3.4 percent the week prior.

Block Club Chicago’s coronavirus coverage is free for all readers. Block Club is an independent, 501(c)(3), journalist-run newsroom.

Subscribe to Block Club Chicago, an independent, 501(c)(3), journalist-run newsroom. Every dime we make funds reporting from Chicago’s neighborhoods.

Already subscribe? Click here to support Block Club with a tax-deductible donation. 

Listen to “It’s All Good: A Block Club Chicago Podcast” here: Twitter @BauerJournalism