coronavirus chicago

Here’s What Needs to Happen for Chicago to Enter Phase 3 of Reopening in Early June

Several businesses will be allowed to reopen with capacity limitations under phase three

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Chicago is slated to enter phase three of its opening plan in early June, but what exactly will it take to get to there?

Several businesses will be able to reopen with capacity limitations under phase three, "cautiously reopen," of Mayor Lori Lightfoot's city-specific, five-phase reopening plan.

Lightfoot stated at a news conference that she couldn't give an exact date because "we just don't know yet."

"I don't think it's mid-June, I think it's early June," the mayor said, adding that she sees it happening before June 10 and sometime in the "single digits."

Friday's announcement from the mayor made it clear that Chicago will not be entering its next stage of reopening with much of Illinois next week.

While Cook County has the highest number of cases of any county in the U.S., Chicago officials said Friday, for the first time, cases have started to decline in the city.

CDPH Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady breaks down the latest coronavirus data for Chicago, expressing “cautious optimism” in the numbers.

Dr. Allison Arwady, Chicago's Department of Public Health commissioner, touted progress in areas such as contact tracing, testing and hospital admission rates. While she said Chicago remains "on track" to reach the next phase, Arwady cautioned that residents need to stay home this Memorial Day weekend to continue to save lives and flatten the curve.

"This is really a sign of success, a sign of hope," she stated. "And my hope is that next week we'll be able to share even better information."

Here are the required metrics to move to the next phase of reopening, phase three:

Declining Rate of New COVID-19 Cases:

  • COVID-19 Cases Rate (over 14 days, based on a 7-day rolling average):
    • Goal: Declining rate of new cases, based on incidence and/or percent positivity
    • Progress: Daily case counts currently decreasing by 2.8% daily for 8 days (Black, non-Latinx rates stable or decreasing for 19 days; Latinx rates decreasing for 8 days; Asian, non-Latinx rates decreasing for 11 days; and White, non-Latinx rates decreasing for 17 days); Positivity rate currently declining for 19 days
  • Severe Outcome Rate (over 14 days, based on a 7-day rolling average):
    • Goal: Stable or declining rates of cases resulting in hospitalization, ICU admission, and/or death
    • Progress:
      • Hospital admissions declining by 6.9% for 10 days
      • ICU bed occupancy currently stable or declining for 12 days
      • Rate of deaths currently decreasing by 3.6% per day for 5 days
  • Syndromic Surveillance:
    • Goal: Declining emergency department visits for influenza-like illness and/or COVID-like illness for 14 days
    • Progress:
      • Emergency department visits among Chicago residents with influenza-like illnesses currently decreasing 2.6% daily over 17 days;
      • Emergency department visits among Chicago residents with COVID-19 related illnesses currently declining 2.2% daily for 7 days

Adequate Hospital Capacity:

  • Hospital Capacity Citywide (over 14 days, based on a 7-day rolling average):
    • Goal:
      • Hospital beds: <1800 COVID patients
      • ICU beds: <600 COVID patients
      • Ventilators: <450 COVID patients
    • Progress:
      • <1,800 COVID-19 patients in acute non-ICU hospital beds
      • <600 COVID-19 patients in ICU beds
      • <450 COVID-19 patients on ventilators since beginning of epidemic

Adequate Testing Capacity:

  • Testing Capacity:
    • Goal: Ability to perform 4,500 tests per day
    • Progress: Currently conducting 4,300 tests per day 
  • Testing Percent Positivity Rate:
    • Goal: Community positivity rate: <15%
    • Progress: Community positivity rate currently at 20.5%
    • Goal: Congregate settings positive rate: <30%
    • Progress: Congregate positivity rate currently at 18.1%

Adequate Response Capacity:

  • Case Investigation & Contact Tracing:
    • Goal: Expanded system in place for congregate and community investigations and contact tracing
    • Progress: CDPH is in the process of reassigning and training staff members and partnering with local organizations to expand contact tracing and case investigation capabilities across the city.
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