CHICAGO — With COVID-19 cases on the rise across the country, city health officials are apprehensive about the 650,000 Chicagoans who remain unvaccinated — as holiday gatherings will likely start to commence in the coming days.
On Tuesday, during an online briefing, Chicago Department of Public Health commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady warned city residents about the potential spread of both coronavirus strains.
“Ninety-nine point nine percent (99.9%) of what we are detecting continues to be delta,” Arwady said.
The delta Variant remains the dominant coronavirus strain in Chicago, although the Health Department warns more omicron infections are coming. As a result, health officials have expressed concern about vulnerable populations.
“We’re continuing to lag, unfortunately, in vaccination uptake in Black, non-Latinx Chicagoans, and then that, in turn, gets reflected in hospitalization death rates, especially,” Arwady said.
The matter has prompted Arwady’s push for vaccinations.
“I want folks vaccinated. I want folks boosted, if possible,” Arwady said. “Booster doses of Pfizer Covid 19 vaccine are recommended now for 16 and 17-year-olds, at least six months after initial vaccine series.”
Chicago’s top doctor did not sway residents from holiday gatherings amid a surge in COVID-19 cases but did say loved ones should utilize safety precautions, like masks, social distancing and washing of hands, especially if some members are unvaccinated.
“I would also strongly recommend Rapid Tests prior to participating in gatherings and parties,” Arwady says, “especially if everyone is not vaccinated and boosted.”
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