Chicago's Mask Mandate Could Return as COVID Cases Rise, Lightfoot Says

Chicago's average daily number of new cases was up to 130 per day early Monday - a 76% increase over last week.

Chicago could reinstate its mask requirement and other additional COVID-19 safety precautions if the city continues to see a rise in case numbers, Mayor Lori Lightfoot has revealed.

In a conversation with the New York Times published Monday, Lightfoot said, "We're not there yet" when it comes to making such a move, but noted Chicago has reported an uptick in daily case numbers and a slight increase in hospitalizations.

"...We are working very hard to make sure that our daily case rate is below 200," the mayor explained. "If we start to see consistently going over that, we're not only going to look at a mask mandate, we're going to look at other tools we've been compelled to use."

Chicago's average daily number of new cases was up to 130 per day early Monday - a 76% increase over last week.

The city's average daily case rate was at 90 per day last week and 41 per day the week before that, meaning it's more than tripled in roughly three weeks - though it is still significantly lower than the more than 700 cases per day the city was seeing earlier this year and last, before vaccines were widely available.

Hospitalizations in Chicago are up 19% from last week, though deaths are down 43%, while the positivity rate in testing is up to 2.2% as of Monday, up from 1.5% last week and 1% the week before.

In Los Angeles County, the nation's most populous county, just ahead of Cook County, the local government has reissued a mask mandate in response to soaring cases there. In Los Angeles County, roughly 52% of residents have been fully vaccinated. As of Friday, 60.2% of Chicagoans have been given a full series of shots.

Public health experts have blamed the Delta variant for the rise in cases in Chicago, as well as nationwide, and continue to plead with those who have not yet gotten vaccinated to do so.

""We can't allow it to spread further or faster than it already has," Lightfoot previously said. "And it already has incredible momentum. If we don't stall this, we'll have to wait that much longer to be able to formally turn the page on COVID-19 and put this pit pandemic in the past, in the rearview mirror."

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