CHICAGO – Mayor Lori Lightfoot warned residents Monday that some coronavirus restrictions could return in Chicago if the number of COVID-19 cases in the city continue to rise.
City health officials said cases have risen by more than 50 percent over the past two weeks, increasing at a rate last seen in March and April. The 500 cases per day reported Monday is the highest level seen since late May.
While this increase coincided with a rise in testing to 11,000 a day, the test positivity rate also increased by more than a percentage point to 5.2 percent. There has also been an increase in hospitalizations, which are up 25 percent for non-ICU COVID patients and suspected cases since September 22.
“The data is clear – we are now in a second surge of COVID-19 and I am extremely concerned,” Lightfoot said. “Now is the time to double down on what we know works and come together as a city to flatten the curve once again.”
The significant increase of COVID-19 cases in Chicago corresponds with a second wave of the virus being seen throughout the Midwest and across the country.
Lightfoot said if the numbers don’t stop rising in the city it could go back to Phase Three of reopening, with lower limits on the number of people allowed in businesses and social gatherings will be limited to ten. Many businesses say that could be devastating.
Contact tracing shows two-thirds of people who are infected with COVID-19 in Chicago get it from someone they know, officials said. The risk factor of someone being infected jumps to 30 percent in a group of 25 or more, and more than 50 percent for groups of 50 or more.
Lightfoot and the Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said all residents should wear masks or face coverings anytime they are in public or unable to maintain six feet of social distance.
And with the holidays approaching, they also advised residents to strictly limit social gatherings, even small ones.
“The majority of COVID-19 cases in Chicago are spread between people that know each other, so the best way to stem the tide is to avoid social gatherings and keep your bubble small,” Lightfoot said.