COVID-19 cases in Illinois have risen 80%, and officials expect the virus to continue to spread, according to a statement from the governor’s office. “The delta variant is the strongest version of COVID-19 yet and we must contain it through both vaccinations and prevention measures such as mask wearing indoors and in crowded outdoor settings,” said Dr. Rachel Rubin, the senior medical officer of the Cook County Department of Public Health. “Vaccines are how we put this pandemic behind us for once and for all, but I will continue to evaluate the need for further additional mitigations,” Pritzker said.
Along with people in DuPage, McHenry and Will counties, everyone — regardless of vaccination status — in Cook County should wear masks indoors, according to federal guidance. Confirmed cases of COVID-19 are surging across the country because of the delta variant, and new data suggests the virus can now be spread by fully vaccinated people. Video: How are Loop businesses faring amid the pandemic? Watch our full interview with Kiana Distasi from the Chicago Loop Alliance.
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New mask rules will be released Friday by the Cook County Department of Public Health, officials said. While Mayor Lori Lightfoot celebrated the return of the four-day music festival that is expected to draw more than 100,000 people to downtown Chicago each day, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention added Cook County it its list of areas experiencing “substantial” transmission of the coronavirus.
Lightfoot on Thursday declined to renew her promise, made Monday in an interview with the New York Times, to reimpose a mask mandate on Chicagoans, regardless of their vaccination status, once the city passes the 200 cases per day benchmark set by local health officials. That would mean the city would meet the standard set by the CDC to deem an area where there is “substantial” transmission of the coronavirus. Hospitalizations in Chicago are at the highest level since mid-June, according to city data. In addition, more than eight people have been hospitalized, on average, every day this week, up from an average of more than four people every day last week, according to city data.
The city’s COVID-19 test positivity rate is now 3%, up from 1.8% during the past week, according to city data. Chicago is now recording an average of 192 cases per day, based on a seven-day rolling average, according to data from the Chicago Department of Public Health. In the past week, the number of cases has risen 64%, according to city data.
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