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Chicago’s COVID-19 Cases On The Rise Again — But Vaccinated People Can Safely Gather For Holidays, Top Doc Says

"I think we would be very lucky to not see an increase in COVID," Dr. Allison Arwady said of the coming months.

Irma from Tinley Park receives a Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at Esperanza Health Centers, 6057 S. Western Ave., on Nov. 4, 2021.
Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
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CHICAGO — COVID-19 cases are again on the rise in Chicago — but the number of people dying from the virus has not risen.

Cases have started to “tick up” slightly in the city, Dr. Allison Arwady, head of the Chicago Department of Public Health, said during a Thursday morning livestream. The number of Chicagoans being hospitalized with COVID-19 and the city’s positivity rate are rising, as well.

“We still are seeing a little bit of an uptick in our numbers,” Arwady said.

Other parts of the upper Midwest — particularly Michigan and Minnesota — have seen their outbreaks worsen as people head indoors due to the cold weather.

Chicago and Illinois saw their statistics fall after a Delta-fueled surge this summer, but in recent weeks those numbers stabilized — and they are now seeing small jumps. Arwady has warned for months the city could see another surge this fall and winter, and she’s worried that less-vaccinated communities could be hit hard since they have less protection against the virus.

In Chicago, the average number of cases being reported per day is at 328, a 12 percent jump from a week ago. That rise can’t be attributed to testing since the number of tests being taken is actually down 4 percent.

The number of Chicagoans being hospitalized with COVID-19 each day is also up: Nineteen are being hospitalized per day, a 7 percent jump from a week ago, according to city data.

And Chicago’s positivity rate is at 1.8 percent, a slight increase from 1.6 percent a week ago.

But deaths remain stable, with three to four Chicagoans dying per day from COVID-19.

Arwady said she does not know what will happen over the next few months with the COVID-19 outbreak.

“I think we would be very lucky to not see an increase in COVID,” she said.

Arwady noted people are moving inside as it’s gotten cold — and the virus transmits easier when people are indoors, she and other experts have warned. This is also the time of year Chicago and other chillier spots see more respiratory viruses, she said.

But vaccines should keep people safer, as they have throughout the Delta surge, Arwady said.

“When I think about the holidays, I am nowhere near as worried as I was last year,” Arwady said. “In fact, I’m very confident that holiday gathering for most people is going to be really safe and appropriate.

“… We may see some additional cases around holidays. We certainly have seen it before. But I’m not worried about the major, major impact like we were seeing last year simply because we have a lot of people vaccinated.”

RELATED: Can Kids Visit Santa This Year? Get Vaccinated Soon For A Safe Holiday Season, Top Doc Says


• In Illinois, about 7.3 million people — or 57.38 percent of the state’s 12.7 million people — are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to state data.

• Across the state, 54,013 vaccine doses are being administered per day, based on a seven-day rolling average.

• Illinois and Chicago have administered at least 15,858,720 vaccine doses of the 19,007,805 provided to them.

• City data shows more than 1.6 million Chicagoans — or 60 percent of all residents — are fully vaccinated, and 65 percent of all Chicagoans have gotten at least one shot.

Everyone 5 and older is eligible to get vaccinated in Chicago.

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:

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

• At least 25,926 people have died from COVID-19 in Illinois, and another 2,877 deaths are probably related to the virus, according to the state.

• The state reported 4,267 cases since Wednesday. That brings the total number of confirmed cases in Illinois up to 1,710,044.

• Since Wednesday, 150,390 tests were reported statewide. In all, 35,935,515 tests have been reported in Illinois.

• Illinois’ seven-day case positivity rate was at 2.2 percent. The figure represents the percentage of people testing positive among recent tests. It was at 2 percent Wednesday.

• Illinois’ seven-day test positivity rate, which measures the percentage of tests that were positive, was at 2.4 percent. It was at 2.3 percent Wednesday.

• As of Wednesday night, 278 people with COVID-19 were in the ICU and 146 people with COVID-19 were using ventilators in Illinois.

• In Chicago, two deaths were reported since Wednesday. There have been at least 5,917 deaths from COVID-19 in Chicago. The city is seeing an average of hree deaths per day, down 28 percent from a week ago.

• Chicago has had 662 confirmed cases reported since Wednesday. It’s had a total of 329,388 confirmed cases. An average of 328 confirmed cases are being reported per day, up 12 percent from the week prior.

• Testing in Chicago is down 4 percent since a week ago.

• Chicago’s positivity rate was at 1.8 percent, up from 1.6 percent the week prior.

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