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Chicago Could Be Considered High Risk For COVID By Next Week, But Mask Mandate Won’t Come Back For Now, Arwady Says

Chicago's daily case rate has gone up in recent weeks, but the numbers of people hospitalized with and dying from COVID-19 have remained low.

Angel Salgado, 5, waits in the chair for his second COVID-19 vaccine at Esperanza Health Centers Brighton Park on April 4, 2022.
Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
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CHICAGO — Chicago could be considered high risk for COVID-19 as soon as next week, the city’s health department announced Friday.

The city remains at medium risk for now. And though Chicago’s case rate has risen — it’s seeing at least 1,249 confirmed cases per day — the city won’t automatically bring back a mask mandate should Chicago move into high-risk territory, health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said in a statement.

The city would only bring back its mask requirement if the local health care system is put in jeopardy by COVID-19, Arwady said. But officials might start advising high-risk people to consider limiting how many non-essential indoor gatherings they go to, Arwady said.

And the health department is recommending people mask indoors in public, including on the CTA.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention evaluates a county as low, medium or high risk depending on the number of new COVID-19 cases in that area, as well as what toll COVID-19 is placing on the area’s health care system.

Chicago’s daily case rate has gone up in recent weeks, but the numbers of people hospitalized with and dying from COVID-19 have remained low.

“I’m guessing most of you know someone who’s had COVID” recently or has it now, Arwady said during a livestream Tuesday. At another point, she said, “The great news is that vaccines are working wonderfully in terms of keeping folks out of the hospital.”

Vaccinations:

• In Illinois, about 8.2 million people — or 64.7 percent of the state’s 12.7 million people — are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to state data.

• Across the state, 13,167 vaccine doses are being administered per day, based on a seven-day rolling average.

• Illinois and Chicago have administered at least 22,200,483 vaccine doses of the 27,201,145 provided to them.

• City data shows more than 1.8 million Chicagoans — or 68.8 percent of all residents — are fully vaccinated, and 76.2 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 Tuesday, 37 Illinoisans were reported dead from COVID-19.

• At least 33,761 people have died from COVID-19 in Illinois, and another 4,307 deaths are probably related to the virus, according to the state.

• The state reported 18,010 cases since Tuesday. That brings the total number of confirmed cases in Illinois up to 3,249,534.

• The state is reporting an average of 315 confirmed cases per day per 100,000 people. That average was at 333 on Tuesday.

• As of Thursday night, 116 people with COVID-19 were in the ICU and 43 people with COVID-19 were using ventilators in Illinois.

• In Chicago, five deaths were reported since Tuesday. There have been at least 7,394 deaths from COVID-19 in Chicago. The city is seeing an average of less than one death per day, down from last week.

• Chicago has had 3,714 confirmed cases reported since Friday. It’s had a total of 604,361 confirmed cases. An average of 1,249 confirmed cases are being reported per day, up 25 percent from a week ago.

• Testing in Chicago is up 2 percent from a week ago.

• Chicago’s positivity rate was at 6.4 percent, up from 5.2 percent a week ago.

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