CHICAGO — Local officials have said it’s inevitable COVID-19’s Omicron variant will soon be found in Chicago — but they aren’t yet planning any new safety restrictions.
Dr. Allison Arwady, head of the Chicago Department of Public Health, has said she expects Omicron cases will be detected in the city within days. Cases have already been found in several states across the country, including nearby Minnesota.
And though the federal government is cracking down in some ways — like tightening up testing requirements for international travelers coming to the United States — Chicago is not yet planning more restrictions, Arwady has said throughout the week.
The city and state largely require people to wear masks indoors when in public. Otherwise, most local COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted since vaccines became widespread.
The city has no plans for additional restrictions as of now, Arwady said Thursday. She noted more places, like event venues, might start requiring proof of vaccination on their own accord.
“I have no desire and no plans at this point” to be closing things down, Arwady said at a news conference. “If we had to go there, that would only be in the setting if we were seeing major threats to our health care system.”
The city is nowhere near that, Arwady said, and she hasn’t seen anything that makes her concerned about Chicago getting to that point.
Arwady has urged people to get vaccinated or get their booster shot and to wear a mask when indoors in public. It’s expect the currently available vaccines will offer some protection against Omicron, though it’s still being determined how effective they are against the variant, she said.
The Omicron variant is thought to be extremely contagious, but it is still being studied to determine what risks it could pose.
Even without Omicron, Chicago has struggled with its coronavirus outbreak in recent weeks. Cases, positivity rates and deaths have risen sharply as the weather has cooled.
• In Illinois, about 7.4 million people — or 58.32 percent of the state’s 12.7 million people — are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to state data.
• Across the state, 54,387 vaccine doses are being administered per day, based on a seven-day rolling average.
• Illinois and Chicago have administered at least 17,508,319 vaccine doses of the 20,348,435 provided to them.
• City data shows more than 1.6 million Chicagoans — or 61.5 percent of all residents — are fully vaccinated, and 68.6 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.
• Thirty-six Illinoisans were reported dead from COVID-19 since Thursday.
• At least 26,535 people have died from COVID-19 in Illinois, and another 2,986 deaths are probably related to the virus, according to the state.
• The state reported 7,558 cases since Thursday. That brings the total number of confirmed cases in Illinois up to 1,835,076.
• Since Thursday, 188,788 tests were reported statewide. In all, 39,650,009 tests have been reported in Illinois.
• Illinois’ seven-day case positivity rate was at 4.7 percent. The figure represents the percentage of people testing positive among recent tests. It was at 4.7 percent Thursday.
• Illinois’ seven-day test positivity rate, which measures the percentage of tests that were positive, was at 5.6 percent. It was at 5.7 percent Thursday.
• As of Wednesday night, 534 people with COVID-19 were in the ICU and 221 people with COVID-19 were using ventilators in Illinois.
• In Chicago, four deaths was reported since Thursday. There have been at least 6,022 deaths from COVID-19 in Chicago. The city is seeing an average of more than three people dying per day, a 9 percent increase from last week.
• Chicago has had 982 confirmed cases reported since Thursday. It’s had a total of 347,151 confirmed cases. An average of 541 confirmed cases are being reported per day, down 12 percent from the week prior.
• Testing in Chicago is down 28 percent since a week ago.
• Chicago’s positivity rate was at 3.7 percent, up from 3 percent the week prior.
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