CHICAGO — Unvaccinated Chicagoans with COVID-19 have been five times as likely to require hospitalization and to die as fully vaccinated residents during the recent wave in cases, the city’s top doctor said Tuesday.
Coronavirus cases were already on the rise as the weather cooled in November — and they’ve surged since Thanksgiving. The city is now seeing an average of 33 Chicagoans out of 100,000 diagnosed with COVID-19 every day, just below the nationwide average of 35 diagnoses per 100,000 people per day, Dr. Allison Arwady, head of the Chicago Department of Public Health, said during a livestream Tuesday.
That’s still better than Illinois — which is at 56 diagnoses per 100,000 people per day — and the rest of the Midwest, which has been hit hard by the recent surge in cases.
But just as cases have risen, so have the numbers of people being hospitalized with COVID-19 and people dying from the virus every day. The city is seeing more than 1,000 cases reported each weekday and four to five people die per day from the virus, Arwady said.
“There is a lot of COVID” in the area, Arwady said, noting case rates have tripled in Illinois since the start of November.
The surge is still being fueled by the Delta variant, which accounts for 99.9 percent of recent cases, but there have been “scattered” Omicron cases detected, Arwady said. Chicago detected Omicron for the first time last week; the variant is still being researched but is thought to be highly contagious.
The rise in cases since Thanksgiving has been seen in people of all age groups and races and ethnicities, Arwady said.
“The whole city is increasing, and risk is increasing everywhere,” Arwady said.
But it’s still unvaccinated people who are the most at risk, Arwady said: COVID-19 infections have been three times as likely to occur in unvaccinated Chicagoans as in fully vaccinated residents since Thanksgiving. And unvaccinated Chicagoans are being hospitalized with and dying from COVID-19 at five times the rate of fully vaccinated Chicagoans, she said.
Breakthrough cases remain rare, with 24,652 reported out of nearly 1.7 million fully vaccinated Chicagoans. Of those people who had a breakthrough infection, just 147 have died from COVID-19.
Currently available vaccines are expected to widely protect people from severe illness and death from Omicron, but everyone is still at increased risk from the variant since there will likely be more transmission and more cases, she said. Officials expects to see more breakthroughs and people having re-infections due to the variant.
Everyone 5 and older is eligible to get vaccinated in Illinois. The vaccines are free and do not require insurance or ID.
• In Illinois, about 7.5 million people — or 59.52 percent of the state’s 12.7 million people — are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to state data.
• Across the state, 68,908 vaccine doses are being administered per day, based on a seven-day rolling average.
• Illinois and Chicago have administered at least 18,251,052 vaccine doses of the 20,817,855 provided to them.
• City data shows more than 1.6 million Chicagoans — or 63 percent of all residents — are fully vaccinated, and 69.8 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.
• Twenty-eight Illinoisans were reported dead from COVID-19 since Monday.
• At least 26,934 people have died from COVID-19 in Illinois, and another 3,051 deaths are probably related to the virus, according to the state.
• The state reported 7,390 cases since Monday. That brings the total number of confirmed cases in Illinois up to 1,911,649.
• Since Monday, 184,208 tests were reported statewide. In all, 41,489,148 tests have been reported in Illinois.
• Illinois’ seven-day case positivity rate was at 4 percent. The figure represents the percentage of people testing positive among recent tests. It was at 4 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 5.7 percent Monday.
• As of Monday night, 743 people with COVID-19 were in the ICU and 368 people with COVID-19 were using ventilators in Illinois.
• In Chicago, no deaths was reported since Monday. There have been at least 6,077 deaths from COVID-19 in Chicago. The city is seeing an average of more than four people dying per day, an 11 percent decrease from last week.
• Chicago has had 1,117 confirmed cases reported since Monday. It’s had a total of 357,893 confirmed cases. An average of 903 confirmed cases are being reported per day, down 2 percent from the week prior.
• Testing in Chicago is down 2 percent since a week ago.
• Chicago’s positivity rate was at 4.2 percent, up from 4 percent the week prior.
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