While most cities and states are dropping their COVID mitigations, the city of Philadelphia is going in the opposite direction, reinstating its mask mandate as COVID cases have climbed by more than 50% in the last 10 days.
According to the latest data from Philadelphia officials, the city is averaging 142 new cases of COVID per day, an increase of 69% in the last 10 days alone.
“Cases are going up more quickly than the health department feels is safe,” officials said.
While hospitalizations have remained steady in the city, under the parameters of Philadelphia’s “COVID Response Levels” system, residents are now required to wear masks in indoor spaces until cases decrease.
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The next step would be “Caution,” which would require residents to present their vaccine cards or proof of a negative COVID test to dine indoors. “Extreme Caution” would require even more strict protocols.
In the city of Chicago, COVID cases aren’t climbing quite as quickly, but the daily number of new cases has risen to 414 per day, up 42% within the last week alone.
The city’s positivity rate has also gone up to 2.1% in the last week, up from the 1.6% level it was at seven days ago.
Hospitalizations are down by 18% over last week however, according to data provided by the Chicago Department of Public Health.
Even with those increases in COVID case numbers, the city says that its current COVID risk level is “low,” with the new parameters for determining potential mitigations now being based on hospitalizations rather than strictly cases.
Under the city’s current system, a mask mandate wouldn’t potentially go back into effect unless there were “high” levels of spread of the virus, according to the CDPH’s website.
In order to hit that level, the city would need to see new COVID hospital admissions per day climb above 10, and to see 10% or more of staffed inpatient beds occupied by COVID patients.
Currently, the city isn’t close to either of those numbers. On average, Chicago is seeing 1.4 new COVID admissions per day, and its percentage of staffed beds that are currently occupied by COVID patients currently stands at 2.4%.