chicago covid

Watch Live: Chicago Mayor, CDPH to Give Pre-Thanksgiving COVID Update

NOTE: NBC Chicago will offer a live stream of the event beginning at 1:30 p.m. in the player above.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Chicago's health department are expected to give a COVID-19 update Monday as the city continues to see a rise in cases ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday.

The mayor, who will be joined by other city leaders, is set to discuss the city's vaccination efforts heading into the holiday as Chicago once again enters a state of high transmission.

A press conference is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. at the Northwest Side Housing Center. (Watch live in the player above)

Last week, Dr. Allison Arwady, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, said “we're in a surge" and she expects numbers will continue to climb with Thanksgiving holiday gatherings.

“I expect there to be some more transmission associated with holidays, especially where people who are not vaccinated are gathering,” Arwady said.

As of data published Friday, Chicago was seeing an average daily case rate of 528 new case per day. That's up from 416 a week earlier.

That figure is much higher than the low of 34 the city saw in late June but remains lower than the more than 700 cases per day the city was seeing during the most recent surge earlier this year.

A rise in cases wasn't unexpected as many health experts expressed concerns as cold weather forces people inside.

“We are absolutely in the middle of this COVID increase. [It's] not a surprise as we head into winter,” Arwady said. "I know we emphasize this, but right now is the time to get vaccinated for the holidays. It does start to build protection, and sooner is going to be better.”

According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, the state is averaging 3,560 new cases of COVID per day over the last week. That is 72% more than the 2,069 new cases that the state was seeing each day on Oct. 27, the low-point since the delta-driven surge.

While the recent increases in cases are causing some concerns among officials, the upticks are still not nearly what they were over the summer. As of Sept. 4, the state was seeing 4,440 new cases of COVID per day, the highest mark the state had seen since widespread inoculations against the coronavirus had begun.

Both numbers still pale in comparison to the dramatic surge in cases the state saw last fall. In fact, exactly one year ago on Nov. 16, 2020, the surge of COVID cases hit its peak level, with the state averaging 12,384 new cases of COVID per day.

Even with numbers on the rise, many health officials, including Arwady, don’t anticipate any drastic new measures to try to curb cases.

“Unvaccinated Chicagoans of all ages are more likely to be hospitalized,” she conceded, “(but) I’m certainly not expecting to see the major lockdowns like we saw early on.”

With a possible surge expected around Thanksgiving, health officials say taking precautions is crucial, but ultimately the decision is up to each family.

"...You have to decide how much risk will you tolerate," Khan said. "Is the risk of having a guest who is unvaccinated worth the benefit of having them there?”

And hope is on the horizon, especially when it comes to Christmas as children between 5 and 11 years old will have the chance to be fully vaccinated.

In order to have the series complete by Christmas, children must have received their first dose by Nov. 19.

Still, unvaccinated teenagers continue to have the highest COVID case rate in Chicago. 

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