coronavirus illinois

Chicago COVID Metrics: As New Vax Rules Near, City Reports Large Increase in Daily Case Rates

As the city of Chicago prepares to institute new COVID mitigation strategies, city officials are detailing the rapid rises in metrics that have led them to put the new rules into effect.

Beginning in early January, all patrons at restaurants, gyms or entertainment venues where food is served will be required to show a proof of COVID vaccination. Employees of those establishments will also be able to present a proof of a negative COVID test within seven days of their entry into work.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot says that the new rules are going into effect because of rapid increases in COVID cases, with the city seeing a 500% increase in daily case averages over the last two months, and increases in hospitalizations, which have risen each of the last 30 days.

“I have not been this concerned about COVID-19 since the early days of the pandemic in 2020,” she said. “The latest variant, omicron, appears to spread more easily. We have upticks in positivity rates, cases, hospitalizations and deaths.”

According to the city’s COVID statistics dashboard, Chicago is averaging 1,776 new cases of COVID per day over the last week. That figure is the highest the city has seen since Dec. 6 of last year, and represents an 86% increase in new cases in the last two weeks alone.

On Oct. 23, the city was averaging 296 new cases per day, meaning that the daily average has increased by exactly 500% in the last two months.

According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, the city has a COVID positivity rate of 7% as of Dec. 19, a significant increase from the 3.9% level that Chicago was at 10 days ago.

The city is also averaging 62 new hospitalizations per day over the last week, the most it has averaged since mid-January.

Even with all of those arrows pointing upward, Lightfoot says her administration is still anticipating even greater increases because of holiday travel and gatherings, which is why officials are imposing the new rules.

“We can expect a post-holiday surge in cases,” she said.

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