The COVID-19 public health emergency ends on Thursday. What does that mean for people battling the virus and staying healthy? 

Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady joined WGN Evening News to discuss the emergency’s ends.

“I am the happiest person out there that COVID doesn’t need to be the top of mind at this point,” Arwady said. “It doesn’t mean it’s gone, it doesn’t mean the health department is not continuing to work on monitoring and responding if necessary. But it does mean we are at a different point. We have vaccines and treatments that can really help keep people out of the hospital and keep people from dying.”

Arwady encouraged continued testing for COVID with the allergy season in full swing.

“COVID is still more dangerous than a regular cold, especially if there are people who are older with underlying conditions. If you got a positive test, you should be staying home for those five days and be wearing a mask days 6-10. None of that changes, even with the emergency ending.”

The city’s top doctor hopes those who are not feeling well continue to take the necessary precautions and locals stay up to date on COVID booster shots.

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“If you haven’t had a vaccine since Labor Day, you need to get one,” Arwady said. “And for anybody over 65, if it’s been four months since your most recent COVID vaccine, you are also authorized to get another one. Anyone immunocompromised, if it’s been two months, you are (also authorized).”

Visit for the Chicago COVID-19 daily data dashboard.