coronavirus illinois

Lightfoot Says Chicago Will Propose City-Specific Reopening Plan

Lightfoot said the city needs to see a decline in cases before it can continue to move forward with easing restrictions

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Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she plans to propose city-specific guidelines for reopening during the coronavirus pandemic.

Lightfoot said her guidelines will "complement" Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker's plan for reopening the state, which was unveiled Tuesday.

Pritzker said the state will reopen in five phases and on a region-by-region basis. Currently, Chicago, and the rest of Illinois, are in the second phase of that plan, though some regions could enter the third phase by the end of the month. (Read more on the plan here.)

Chicago’s Latinx community now represents 37 percent of the city’s total coronavirus cases, up from 14 percent about four weeks ago, Dr. Arwady said Wednesday, representing a clear surge among Latinx residents.

Lightfoot said the city needs to see a decline in cases before it can continue to move forward with easing restrictions.

"I worry a lot about, particularly our micro-businesses. If there's not a solution soon, they're never coming back," she said.

But according to Lightfoot, though the city is seeing progress, "we are not where we need to be yet."

"We can't reopen the city yet," she said.

Chicago health officials say the city still has not reached a peak and cases will likely continue to rise in the coming days.

"We're still at the stage where we're flattening the curve. We're not yet coming down," Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said Wednesday.

Arwady said the city is still expected to peak in May, however.

"We are making progress, but we're far from out of the woods," Arwady said.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker has now revealed details on a five-phased plan to reopen Illinois as the state remains under a stay-at-home order through May 30.

Chicago crossed a grim milestone earlier this week as deaths due to the coronavirus topped 1,000 citywide. So far, the city has reported more than 26,000 confirmed cases with 1,096 deaths since the pandemic began.

Arwady offered a glimmer of hope in the citywide numbers, however.

"At the beginning of the outbreak, we were seeing cases double every two, three, four days," she said, noting however that cases and deaths will likely continue to rise. "We're at the point where we're seeing doubling every 15 days."

Meanwhile, Illinois reported its deadliest day of the pandemic so far Tuesday. State health officials reported a total of 176 fatalities Tuesday, lifting the state death toll to 2,838.

The increase in deaths is "the largest number of fatalities reported in a single 24-hour period," according to Dr. Ngozi Ezike, the director of the Illinois Department of Public Health.

The state also reported a total of 2,122 new infections among the 13,139 tests performed in the same 24 hours. The statewide total for confirmed cases now sits at 65,962, with 346,286 tests administered since the pandemic began.

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