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Could Chicago Require Vaccination Cards At More Businesses? Announcement On Mitigations Coming Soon, Lightfoot Says

Chicago celebrated a year of COVID-19 vaccinations on Tuesday, but the city is facing another surge in cases.

Vaccination cards are checked with IDs at the front doors of Sidetrack on Saturday, May 29, 2021.
Jake Wittich/Block Club Chicago
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CHICAGO — Officials are looking for ways they can stop the recent surge in cases — and Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Wednesday an announcement is coming “soon.”

Coronavirus cases have risen dramatically in the city in recent weeks, especially as people headed indoors due to colder weather and people gathered for Thanksgiving. The city is reporting an average of 929 per day as of Wednesday.

But daily deaths and hospitalizations haven’t risen to the same levels as seen during prior waves, which experts have said is because the vaccines — which started being administered Dec. 15, 2020, in Chicago — offer protection.

The latest surge has been fueled by the Delta variant, but Omicron has been found in Chicago and a case was reported in the suburbs this week. Officials have said they’re concerned there could be more breakthrough cases and reinfections due to the Omicron variant, though being fully vaccinated and getting a booster appears to provide protection from severe illness and death.

Officials are looking at ways they can slow the virus’s spread during the latest surge.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot declined to directly answer a question about if Chicago will require vaccination cards be checked at more businesses in response to the surge, though she said news is coming “soon.”

“We’ll be making an announcement about any further mitigation efforts that we plan to take soon,” Lightfoot said at an unrelated news conference Wednesday. At another point, she said, “Get your vaccine. … If you haven’t got your booster, get your booster.”

Dr. Allison Arwady, head of the city health department, has previously said officials are looking at requiring vaccination cards to be checked at more businesses to slow the virus’s spread.

Other major cities have required residents to show proof of vaccination to go to venues, gyms, bars and restaurants, for example. Arwady said she’d be more interested in those kinds of measures than in “major shutdowns” like were seen at the start of the pandemic.


• In Illinois, about 7.6 million people — or 59.62 percent of the state’s 12.7 million people — are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to state data.

• Across the state, 67,426 vaccine doses are being administered per day, based on a seven-day rolling average.

• Illinois and Chicago have administered at least 18,322,040 vaccine doses of the 20,973,245 provided to them.

• City data shows more than 1.7 million Chicagoans — or 63.2 percent of all residents — are fully vaccinated, and 69.9 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:

• Seventy-nine Illinoisans were reported dead from COVID-19 since Tuesday.

• At least 27,013 people have died from COVID-19 in Illinois, and another 3,063 deaths are probably related to the virus, according to the state.

• The state reported 9,784 cases since Tuesday. That brings the total number of confirmed cases in Illinois up to 1,921,433.

• Since Tuesday, 142,873 tests were reported statewide. In all, 41,632,021 tests have been reported in Illinois.

• Illinois’ seven-day case positivity rate was at 4.5 percent. The figure represents the percentage of people testing positive among recent tests. It was at 4 percent Tuesday.

• Illinois’ seven-day test positivity rate, which measures the percentage of tests that were positive, was at 5.8 percent. It was at 5.7 percent Tuesday.

• As of Tuesday night, 759 people with COVID-19 were in the ICU and 382 people with COVID-19 were using ventilators in Illinois.

• In Chicago, 38 deaths were reported since Tuesday. There have been at least 6,115 deaths from COVID-19 in Chicago. The city is seeing an average of more than five people dying per day, an 18 percent increase from last week.

• Chicago has had 1,662 confirmed cases reported since Tuesday. It’s had a total of 359,555 confirmed cases. An average of 929 confirmed cases are being reported per day, down 4 percent from the week prior.

• Testing in Chicago is down 8 percent since a week ago.

• Chicago’s positivity rate was at 4.3 percent, up from 3.9 percent the week prior.

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