Chicago and suburban Cook County remain at a medium COVID Community Level, even as case rates continue to increase throughout the Midwest and northeastern United States, the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) announced May 20.
Nearly a quarter of the country is now at a medium or high COVID Community Level, and eight Illinois counties are at a high level.
"While we remain at medium, I expect that we will reach a high level as soon as next week, given ongoing COVID trends," said CDPH Commissioner Allison Arwady, M.D, in a press release. "Even if Cook County moves to [a high level], as long as the healthcare system in Chicago remains stable we likely will not automatically reinstate a mask mandate. We may, however, advise high-risk people to consider limiting non-essential indoor gatherings."
CDPH continues to strongly urge masking in all public indoor spaces in Chicagoincluding on public transitwith the rising number of cases. Chicagoans should also ensure that they and everyone in their social networks are up-to-date with COVID-19 vaccines and boosters; test when they experience COVID-19 symptoms; and continue to follow all isolation and quarantine requirements. Chicagoans with underlying conditions or who are older should also seek early treatment if they are diagnosed with COVID-19, to decrease the risk of hospitalization.
Federal health officials, on May 19, formally recommended that eligible 5-to-11-year-olds also receive boosters.