coronavirus chicago

How Chicago Officials Are Preparing for a Second Wave of Coronavirus

"Right now we're at a place where we're feeling pretty good heading into the fall season"

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Though additional restrictions are not yet in place, Chicago's top health official said the city is already preparing for a coronavirus surge during the upcoming holiday season.

Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said Tuesday that the department has prepared for a citywide health emergency a month to a year from now.

Arwady explained officials have been considering options involving long term care facilities, personal protective equipment, transfers, data sharing and other work related to healthcare.

"We've thought about alternate care facilities at the state level in case we were to really see a major surge," Arwady said. "Making sure from a clinical setting, we're as prepared as we can be."

The city's top health official said the department is also considering altering testing plans such as current outdoor testing sites, which "are not going to be possible" with colder weather.

"We're doing a lot of planning and already experimenting a little bit with thinking about more mobile and smaller clinics, indoor," Arwady said. "There's a lot of things that we're planning and thinking about in that testing setting."

With Halloween next month, Arwady said the city will likely start to see different celebrations for holidays this fall and winter.

Arwady said Tuesday that Chicago is starting to see positivity rates and case numbers going back down this week, so she will not preemptively speak on potential future restrictions.

"Right now we're at a place where we're feeling pretty good heading into the fall season," Arwady said. "And my hope is that we continue to build on that success."

Chicago residents could see further restrictions if the city sees a significant increase in cases, but specifically an increase in hospitalizations and deaths, according to Arwady.

Chicago is currently averaging 287 new cases per day, according to Arwady, with aims to reach below 200 new cases per day to move out of the "high incident" or "high risk" state as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The city remains below the 400 cases per day mark where Arwady said would cause additional restrictions from the health department.

"We had peaked back in late August at over 350 cases per day and have now been seeing this slow downtrend," Arwady said.

Chicago's positivity rate was at 4.6% as of Tuesday, which is similar to where the city has been for a number of weeks, according to Arwady.

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