With COVID-19 cases continuing to gradually increase, Cook County and the City of Chicago moved from "Low" into the "Medium" COVID-19 Community Level, the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) announced in a press release.
In correlation with this development, CDPH is strongly recommending masking in public indoor spaces in Chicago, including on public transit. Chicagoans should also ensure that they and everyone in their social network is up to date with COVID-19 vaccines and boosters; test in the setting of any potential COVID-19 symptoms, and continue to follow all isolation and quarantine requirements.
"We've been expecting to reach the Medium Level for some time now," said CDPH Commissioner Allison Arwady, M.D. "It's not a cause for alarm, since most cases right now are mild and thankfully our COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths remain at or near all-time pandemic lows in Chicago. But it is reason for more caution, and for more care with masking, since more people in Chicago are infected with COVID right now. Remember that people can spread COVID for two days before they develop symptoms, so putting on a mask in public indoor settings is an easy way to help protect our city while we're at a Medium COVID Level."
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) determines COVID-19 Community Levels as Low, Medium, or High, based on the number of new local COVID-19 cases, COVID-19 hospital admissions, and COVID-19 hospital capacity in the prior week. Cook County (combining Chicago and suburban Cook data) counted 259 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents over the past seven days, which pushed the county over the 200-case threshold for the Medium Level. But to reach the High Level, local COVID-19 hospitalizations also need to be highermeaning that there is little short-term risk of reaching a High COVID-19 community level locally and new mandates are not imminent.
According to the CDC, 12.3 percentor 397of the 3,220 counties in the U.S. and Puerto Rico are now at Medium or High COVID-19 Community Levels. That is a 26 percent increase from last week.