CHICAGO — Everyone who has symptoms like COVID-19 should assume they have the virus until a test proves otherwise, Chicago’s top doctor said Tuesday.
The city is seeing nearly 900 COVID-19 cases per day reported, a 24 percent increase since last week even though testing has dropped 2 percent. The city was categorized as being medium risk for COVID-19 last week, with health officials urging — but not requiring — people to wear masks when indoors in public.
But COVID-19 is not seeing “uncontrolled spread” in Chicago, and other metrics remain low, health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said during a Tuesday livestream.
“I do think it is fine for people to be going to work, going to school, to be living our lives,” Arwady said.
The number of people being hospitalized with and dying from COVID-19 has risen it recently, but it still remains near an all-time low, Arwady said. And deaths have not gone up significantly despite the surge in confirmed cases.
“We’re seeing increases in cases, certainly, but not uncontrolled …,” Arwady said.
The city could rise to high-risk status for COVID-19 if hospitalizations and deaths go up, but it is not yet near the metrics that would trigger that change. Should Chicago be labeled high risk, it’s possible the city’s mask mandate or other safety measures could return, Arwady has said. She is still wearing a mask when indoors in higher-risk settings, like bars and restaurants, she said.
But Arwady said she does “not foresee another lockdown” or limitations on gatherings of people.
“It is always possible we could have some terrible new variant emerge that behaved in really different ways — vaccine stopped working, people ended up in the hospital way more than they were,” Arwady said. “But I do not think that is likely.
“And we are much, much, much more interested in doing the things that can be done without needing to resort to limitations on gatherings or lockdowns. I am hopeful, certainly, that we will have a good spring and summer.”
• In Illinois, about 8.2 million people — or 64.79 percent of the state’s 12.7 million people — are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to state data.
• Across the state, 13,115 vaccine doses are being administered per day, based on a seven-day rolling average.
• Illinois and Chicago have administered at least 22,057,822 vaccine doses of the 26,903,645 provided to them.
• City data shows more than 1.8 million Chicagoans — or 69.1 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.
• Since Monday, 15 Illinoisans were reported dead from COVID-19.
• At least 33,684 people have died from COVID-19 in Illinois, and another 4,298 deaths are probably related to the virus, according to the state.
• The state reported 5,344 cases since Monday. That brings the total number of confirmed cases in Illinois up to 3,189,086.
• The state is reporting an average of 293 confirmed cases per day per 100,000 people. That average was at 283 on Monday.
• As of Monday night, 88 people with COVID-19 were in the ICU and 21 people with COVID-19 were using ventilators in Illinois.
• In Chicago, no deaths were reported since Monday. There have been at least 7,384 deaths from COVID-19 in Chicago. The city is seeing an average of less than one death per day, up from last week.
• Chicago has had 989 confirmed cases reported since Monday. It’s had a total of 591,703 confirmed cases. An average of 893 confirmed cases are being reported per day, up 24 percent from a week ago.
• Testing in Chicago is down 2 percent from a week ago.
• Chicago’s positivity rate was at 4.9 percent, up from 3.8 percent a week ago.
Listen to “It’s All Good: A Block Club Chicago Podcast”: