CHICAGO (CBS) – While COVID-19 cases continue to grow slowly in Chicago, city health officials say the city is now at a “medium risk” level and recommend people continue to wear masks indoors again.
The Chicago Department of Public Health also said Chicago residents should make sure they are up to date with their vaccination against COVID-19 and boosters, test whether they are exposed to the virus, and continue to follow isolation and quarantine protocols if positive.
“We have been expecting to reach intermediate levels for some time,” CDPH commissioner Dr Allison Arwady said in a statement. “This is not a cause for alarm, as most cases are currently mild and fortunately our hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19 remain at or near the lowest pandemic level in Chicago. But it is a reason for more caution and more attention with camouflage, as that more people in Chicago are currently infected with COVID. Remember that people can spread COVID two days before they develop symptoms, so putting on a mask in public enclosed spaces is an easy way to protect our city while we are in the middle of COVID. “
The shift to a medium level of risk comes as the last daily average of cases in Chicago rose to 754 cases a day, an increase of 16% over the past week. The average positivity rate in the city is 4.1%, up from 3.7% a week ago.
“Chicago is moving to the middle level not means a mandate for a city-wide mask, restrictions on public gatherings or re-establishing vaccination requirements at the moment, “Arwady said.” Given the way the current variants of COVID behave, these are measures we would consider once we reach community high COVID-19 level – which we are currently not close to reaching in Chicago. But we obviously don’t want that to happen, and the current caution will help us keep COVID under control in Chicago. ”
Health experts say this was not unexpected, but he renewed the call for people to get boosters if they meet the conditions.
This includes those who have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. It’s the FDAbut Dr. Emily Landon, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Chicago School of Medicine, says it’s less about that rare side effect, and more about the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines that provide more protection.
“This decision to limit its use to certain individuals does not say that the FDA process has failed, or that we have failed to understand it, it is certainly not a vaccine; it just says we have a better option, so please use that one,” he said. Landon.
Landon said those who already had COVID-19 but re-infected it were likely to find their symptoms less severe, but the risks remain immunocompromised.
Landon also suggests that people should wear masks indoors as a precaution. She adds that with unreported positive tests at home, the number of cases is actually three to four times higher than reported.
He also warns that people who were infected with the Omicron variant in December or January could get COVID again, but this will be a less difficult case.
DuPage, Lake and Suburban Cook counties have also moved to medium risk in the last two weeks.