CHICAGO — COVID-19 cases across Chicago are rising, albeit slightly, as health officials monitor a surge in hospitalizations. 

Massimo Pacilli, Chicago Department of Public Health’s deputy commissioner for disease control, noted that the news is not surprising.

“It is a good reminder that COVID-19 is not gone and will cause periodic waves of illness,” he said.

With kids heading back to school and people spending more time indoors during the coming fall and winter months, Pacilli said respiratory viral activity is expected to increase, which means more cases of flu, RSV, and COVID-19. 

City data shows that while the COVID risk level is low, hospitalizations and laboratory-confirmed cases have risen in recent weeks. 

“It is important to remember that we’re in a different place than we were a couple of years ago,” Pacilli said. “Nearly all of us have some acquired antibodies to the virus due to either vaccination or prior infection that provide some level of protection from severe disease.” 

An updated booster shot is expected to hit pharmacies and clinics starting in mid-September. Researchers are tracking a new highly mutated COVID variant but say it’s too early to know its impact on immunity. In the interim, CDC officials ask locals to keep up with their vaccinations. 

“Not only does this help keep you and your family safe, it also reduces the potential strain on hospitals,” said CDC principal deputy director Dr. Nirav Shah.

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