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Officials Watching ‘Very, Very Carefully’ As COVID Cases Rise Nationally, Fauci Says

Officials have urged people to get vaccinated and take safety steps that fit their comfort and needs.

The second COVID-19 vaccine dose for Angel Salgado, 5, sits on the counter at Esperanza Health Centers Brighton Park on April 4, 2022.
Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
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CHICAGO — COVID-19 cases are ticking up nationwide — but officials are monitoring the rises, one of the nation’s lead doctors said Monday.

Local officials have for weeks said they’re watching COVID-19 numbers closely as the more contagious BA.2 variant has spread. Chicago’s daily cases and positivity rate have risen recently after falling after the initial Omicron surge, but local leaders have said they are not yet concerned.

Dr. Anthony Fauci echoed those sentiments during an appearance on ABC’s “This Week,” saying officials are watching the rise “very, very carefully,” according to The New York Times.

Chicago health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady has said she expected to see cases and the positivity rate go up as people became more relaxed and mitigations were lifted after the Omicron surge. Similarly, Fauci said the end of mask mandates and other safety mitigations, coupled with the spread of BA.2, means it’s “not unexpected” that cases would rise.

The vast majority of the United States, including Chicago and the bulk of Illinois, is still considered “low risk” for COVID-19 transmission by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Officials have urged people to get vaccinated and take safety steps that fit their comfort and needs.

“This is not going to be eradicated, and it’s not going to be eliminated,” Fauci said, according to the Times report. “And what’s going to happen is that we’re going to see that each individual is going to have to make their calculation of the amount of risk that they want to take in going to indoor dinners and in going to functions.”

But Arwady said last week she is growing more confident Chicago has been spared from a massive BA.2 wave like has been seen in countries in Asia and Europe.

“Because we have been hit so hard with the original Omicron … we actually are more protected than some places against BA.2,” Arwady said. “The most important thing is to be vaccinated, especially in terms of preventing that severe illness.

“But with every passing day, I am more confident that in the very short term we will avoid a major increase like we saw with the Omicron surge.”

Vaccinations:

• In Illinois, about 8.2 million people — or 64.52 percent of the state’s 12.7 million people — are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to state data.

• Across the state, 19,849 vaccine doses are being administered per day, based on a seven-day rolling average.

• Illinois and Chicago have administered at least 21,563,961 vaccine doses of the 26,155,345 provided to them.

• City data shows more than 1.8 million Chicagoans — or 68.7 percent of all residents — are fully vaccinated, and 77.2 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:

• Since Friday, 13 Illinoisans were reported dead from COVID-19.

• At least 33,478 people have died from COVID-19 in Illinois, and another 4,299 deaths are probably related to the virus, according to the state.

• The state reported 4,468 cases since Friday. That brings the total number of confirmed cases in Illinois up to 3,084,904.

• Since Friday, 87,648 tests were reported statewide. In all, 58,073,345 tests have been reported in Illinois.

• The state is reporting an average of 96 confirmed cases per day per 100,000 people.

• As of Sunday night, 70 people with COVID-19 were in the ICU and 22 people with COVID-19 were using ventilators in Illinois.

• In Chicago, one death was reported since Friday. There have been at least 7,338 deaths from COVID-19 in Chicago. The city is seeing an average of less than one person dying per day, down 33 percent from a week ago.

• Chicago has had 375 confirmed cases reported since Friday. It’s had a total of 570,277 confirmed cases. An average of 336 confirmed cases are being reported per day, up 31 percent from a week ago.

• Testing in Chicago is up 3 percent from a week ago.

• Chicago’s positivity rate was at 1.8 percent, up from 1.5 percent a week ago.

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