Chicago is experiencing a worse coronavirus outbreak this fall than when the pandemic began in the spring and the number of infections shows no “signs of slowing down,” the city’s public health chief said Thursday.
At a news conference Thursday, Chicago Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said Chicago is registering an average of 1,395 cases per day, a number it had tried to keep below 200. It was only during the summer months when the city was able to maintain that figure.
“I keep hearing from people here in Chicago who think we’re not talking about them … my goal is for each of you to recognize that when we ask you to duplicate efforts to prevent contagion, know that we are addressing absolutely everyone,” Arwady said. “There is not a single person in Chicago who is not in some way or another at risk.”
Arwady said that as of Thursday, they are aware of at least 15,000 active coronavirus infections in the city, adding that there would be five to seven times that number.
The drastic spike in cases has also caused a rise in hospitalizations and a “small increase” in deaths attributable to the virus and indicated that the number of new cases is doubling every 12 days.
“If we don’t get this number down… we will have hundreds of thousands of new cases by the end of the year,” Arwady warned.
According to the latest CDPH data, the city’s positivity rate currently stands at 10.9%, well above the 8% limit that requires stricter state mitigations and a significant increase from the 8.2% reported a week earlier. For those restrictions to be lifted, the city would have to drop to 6.5% or less for three consecutive days.
On Thursday alone, the city reported a record 2,182 cases, surpassing the previous record of 1,888 cases recorded on Sunday.
The data shows that Chicago now reports 59.7 new cases each day per 100,000 residents, almost four times the limit the city has set for states to be added to its emergency order, which requires travelers to self-quarantine for 14 days.
Lightfoot, who also announced new measures aimed at helping city businesses survive Thursday’s latest surge, pleaded with residents to avoid home gatherings and wear masks as often as possible.
“We will not get past this second wave unless people step up,” Lightfoot said. “Shake off your COVID fatigue and step forward … we’re so proud of Chicago. We take care of ourselves, we’re second to none – if that’s true, prove it.”