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Arwady: Chicago expected to drop below ‘high’ COVID-19 community level soon

Arwady: Chicago expected to drop below ‘high’ COVID-19 community level soon

While the Chicago region recently returned to the COVID-19 level where residents are recommended to mask indoors in public spaces, the city’s top doctor said Monday she expects its metrics to improve in the coming days.

Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady told the city council’s Committee on Health and Human Relations that Cook County moved to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s “high” community level last week due to the region’s increasing hospitalizations.

However, she said wastewater testing and other metrics suggest they are actually at medium community spread.

“So moving back to high, what does that mean?” Arwady said. “It doesn’t mean that much, given that we are very close to the threshold and we expect we’ll be back to medium.”

Asked whether new restrictions are necessary, Arwady said their current focus remains on getting more residents vaccinated and boosted. She added they are already battling “COVID fatigue” and that restrictions should only be implemented when there is a new variant that is threatening the area’s health systems.

As of Sunday, 1,071 Illinoisans were in the hospital with COVID-19, down 22 from Saturday and up 16 from the prior week.

Of the patients in the hospital, 132 were in intensive care units, up 10 from Saturday and down eight from the prior week. Twenty percent of Illinois’ ICU beds were available, the same as the prior week.

There were 41 patients on ventilators, up nine from Saturday and down two from the prior week.

Twenty Illinois counties are at a “high” community level of COVID-19, while 47 counties are at a “medium” risk level.

The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 3,997 new COVID-19 cases and no deaths on Monday. The new cases bring the state total to 3,417,093, while the death toll was 34,098.

The seven-day average for new cases on Monday was 3,899, down 123 from the prior week. The seven-day average for daily deaths is 13, up three from the prior week.

The seven-day case rate per 100,000 people is 30.6, down one from the prior week.

Illinois vaccinators have administered 22,626,630 COVID-19 vaccines, including 4,600,184 booster doses. The seven-day average for doses administered is 8,891.

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