Chicago Health Officials Provide COVID Update Ahead of Holiday Weekend – NBC Chicago

NOTE: Watch the 11:00am update live in the player above.

With Chicago expected to enter a “high” alert level by the end of the week, the city’s top health officials will hold a COVID-19 update Thursday to discuss the transition and what it means ahead of Memorial Day weekend.

Chicago Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady, along with other executives, will discuss “COVID-19 case and immunization data in Chicago, the expected transition from a medium to high COVID community level, and the implications of this upcoming move over Memorial Day weekend and daylight saving time.”

The speech will take place at 11 a.m. at City Hall. (Watch live in player above)

The address comes two days after Arwady announced the city, along with Cook County, was likely to go into high alert in the community this week, under guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“I expect Cook County, which includes Chicago, to rise too high with the update [from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] later this week,” said Dr. Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Allison Arwady in a Facebook Live Tuesday.

According to the CDC, a county is considered “high community level” of COVID-19 if it records more than 200 new weekly COVID cases per 100,000 residents and if it records either 10 or more new COVID admissions per 100,000 residents per week, or if 10% or more hospital beds are occupied by COVID patients.

As of Friday, every county in Chicago-area Illinois was at a “moderate community level” of COVID-19 under CDC guidelines, although some were expected to reach the “high” level in this week’s upcoming update. However, eight counties in Illinois are already at high community-level risk for COVID: Boone, Lee, Stephenson, Winnebago, Champaign, Ford, Peoria and Tazewell.

Evanston, a northern suburb just outside Chicago, has also said it is currently at a “high” community level.

Cook County was reporting 367.34 new weekly cases per 100,000 residents as of Friday, along with 9.8 new COVID admissions per 100,000 residents per week.

This hospitalization cluster (a group of counties that the CDC categorizes based on health care patterns and proximity) also includes DuPage, Lake, and McHenry counties.

CDC officials say DeKalb, Kane and Kendall counties are seeing 8.1 new admissions per 100,000 residents, meaning those three counties could also be in the “high community level” range by this week.

In the event that a county reaches a “high community level” of COVID, residents are advised to wear masks indoors regardless of COVID immunization status.

Those residents who are immunocompromised or live in a household with these residents are urged to avoid “non-essential indoor activities” and to consult with their doctors about any additional steps that may need to be taken.

While city and county health officials have not said definitively that a move to the “high community level” could trigger a new mask mandate, some have suggested that such a strategy could be implemented in the event of a strain on medical facilities.

Arwady said that is not yet the case for Chicago.

“Just to be clear, if the county moves to this higher risk with the update later this week, the city of Chicago would be considered at high risk for COVID as our cases are high and we are starting to see some impact on hospital admissions.” , but we wouldn’t reintroduce mask requirements, for example, until we did – unless and until – we saw a serious impact on our hospitals here in Chicago.

The change in alert status would come just before the Memorial Day holiday weekend.

“Gather outside if you can. It’s the easiest and safest thing that significantly lowers the risk of COVID when you meet people,” Arwady said. “But you’re good to collect, just make sure people have vaccines and boosters, outdoors where you can, test for COVID symptoms and be careful.”

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