Health

Cook among 15 counties to move to ‘high’ level of COVID-19 Thursday night: officials

Cook among 15 counties to move to 'high' level of COVID-19 Thursday night: officials
Written by admin_3fxxacau

Chicago entered a “high” community level of COVID-19 on Thursday evening, officials said, as the city prepares for an estimated 1.4 million people to visit Chicago over Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial start of the summer season.

The development affects areas including Chicago, Cook County and surrounding counties in northeastern Illinois as well as counties around Peoria, according to an emailed statement from the Illinois Department of Public Health. Illinois.

Counties listed at the high community level are Cook, DuPage, Lake, McHenry, Will, Grundy, Boone, Lee, and Winnebago in northern Illinois and Fulton, Knox, Henderson, Mason, Peoria, and Tazewell in central Illinois. Illinois, according to the release.

According to the CDC, 30 more counties in Illinois are now classified at the medium community level.

But the new designation will not trigger the reinstatement of mask mandates or vaccine requirements, officials said at a news conference earlier Thursday, because the city’s health care system remains “stable.” Instead, officials stressed the importance of voluntarily wearing masks again in indoor public places, as well as getting vaccinated and boosted.

“As we approach summer and the Memorial Day holiday long weekend, it is important for our city to welcome visitors safely and reassure them and our residents that we are taking public health measures,” the Chicago Department of Business and Business said. Consumer Protection Commissioner Kenneth Meyer. “As a physician, I will just reiterate that we are not reinstating mask or vaccine requirements as the health care system in Chicago remains stable. However, as cases remain high, we strongly encourage residents and visitors to wear masks. … I also encourage everyone to get vaccinated and get their booster shots as soon as possible.”

As of Thursday, eight other Illinois counties are currently seeing high levels of transmission, including Champaign and neighboring Ford, as well as the area counties of Rockford, Winnebago, Stephenson and Boone.

Chicago Public Health Commissioner Allison Arwady said the city is ‘pretty confident’ hospital admissions are the reason Cook County, including Chicago, is headed for higher risk of the metric used by the CDC.

Last week, the county was at 9.8 new admissions per 100,000, according to the database. When a region reaches 10 new weekly admissions per 100,000 population, the CDC considers them “high risk.”

“The CDC looks at the whole area of ​​health services when looking at things like hospitalizations,” Arwady said. “With the most recent updates, the City of Chicago is averaging 290 cases per 100,000. In the past seven days, anything over 200 is over the target, but you can see Cook County is overall at 367.”

The Midwest region is now among those with the highest COVID-19 cases in the country and Arwady said it was because the Midwest was doing more testing than the South and also because “we are going through this variant sweet (from omicron) right now.”

The CDC classifies areas as having low, medium, or high levels of community transmission based on the number of cases, hospital admissions, and inpatient bed usage.

Arwady recommended people avoid crowded indoor gatherings, get tested if they have flu or COVID-like symptoms, and develop a preventive treatment plan with a primary care physician for those who are immunocompromised.

Last week, the Food and Drug Administration approved the Pfizer booster for children ages 5 to 11, though children in that age group lag overall when it comes to COVID-19 vaccinations.

As cases rise, the FDA is set to review Moderna and Pfizer trial data on children 6 months to 5 years old on June 15, a long-awaited step toward licensing a vaccine for the group. of youngest and final age.

tmijares@chicagotribune.com

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