Chicago community

Chicago health officials to give COVID update ahead of holiday weekend – NBC Chicago

NOTE: Watch the live update at 11:00 a.m. in the player above.

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

Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady and other leaders are expected to discuss “COVID-19 case and vaccination data in Chicago, the projected shift from medium to high COVID community level and of the impact of this move ahead of Memorial Day weekend and DST.”

The speech is scheduled for 11 a.m. at City Hall. (Watch live in the player above)

The address comes two days after Arwady revealed that the city, along with Cook County, would likely reach a high community alert level, under guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this week.

“I anticipate that Cook County, which includes Chicago, will be taken to the next level with the update. [from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] later this week,” Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said in a Facebook Live on Tuesday. “And so I expect Friday is probably here.”

According to the CDC, a county will be considered at a “high community level” of COVID-19 if it sees more than 200 new weekly COVID cases per 100,000 residents, and if it sees 10 or more new COVID admissions per 100 000 inhabitants. residents per week, or if it sees 10% or more use of hospital beds by COVID patients.

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

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

In Cook County, 367.34 new weekly cases per 100,000 population were reported Friday, along with 9.8 new COVID admissions per 100,000 population per week.

DuPage, Lake, and McHenry counties are also included in this hospitalization group (a group of counties that the CDC classifies together due to health service patterns and proximity).

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

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

Residents who are immunocompromised or who live in a household with such residents are urged to consider avoiding “non-essential indoor activities” and to consult with their doctor about any additional measures that may be necessary.

While city and county health officials haven’t definitively said a move to the “high community level” could trigger a new mask mandate, some have indicated such a strategy could be implemented. in the event of pressure being exerted on medical facilities.

Arwady said that’s 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 because our cases are high and we are starting to see an impact on hospitalizations, but we wouldn’t reinstate mask mandates, for example, until we start — unless and until — we start to see a serious impact on our hospitals here in Chicago. »

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

“Gather outdoors if you can. It’s the easiest and safest thing that greatly reduces the risk of COVID if you gather with people,” Arwady said. “But you’re good at gathering, just make sure people have shots and boosters, outside where you can, test for COVID symptoms and be careful.”

The city is planning a press conference Thursday afternoon to discuss next steps as it prepares to enter the heightened alert level.

“Nothing is of huge concern to me about the state of COVID, although our numbers, to be clear, remain high,” Arwady said. “And I assume many of you know someone who has had COVID recently, but most of those cases have been mild.”