Note: Mayor Lightfoot's news conference can be watched live in the video player above beginning at around 9 a.m. CST.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot is expected to deliver an update on "data related to COVID-19" Wednesday morning, according to her public schedule.
She will join Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady for a news conference beginning at 9 a.m. at City Hall, her office says.
At largely unrelated events in recent days, Lightfoot has answered questions about the pandemic and the city's response - ranging from Chicago's emergency travel order, to whether or not she is considering reimposing some restrictions, as well as what Chicago Public Schools plans to do in the fall, among others.
On Tuesday, Chicago added two more states - Iowa and Oklahoma - to its emergency travel order, which requires travelers visiting or returning to the city from certain states to quarantine for 14 days.
Chicago first issued an emergency travel order for 15 states just before the Fourth of July holiday weekend. The order took effect on July 6.
States included in the order then were: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Nevada, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Utah.
Arwady at the time said travelers entering or returning to Chicago from "states experiencing a surge in new COVID-19 cases" will need to quarantine "for a 14-day period from the time of last contact within the identified state."
The order is set to remain in effect until further notice and the list of states is slated to be evaluated every Tuesday.
Lightfoot said Tuesday that the city is paying close attention to its Midwest neighbors as the travel order continues to be evaluated. Wisconsin, Minnesota and Ohio were all added to New York, New Jersey and Connecticut’s quarantine list this week as they report a spike in cases.
"I don't want to speculate about what might happen, but we're, suffice it to say, we're paying very close attention everywhere around us, and particularly states in the Midwest that border Illinois in Chicago," Lightfoot said.
Also on Tuesday, Lightfoot said an update was imminent from Chicago Public Schools on its plan for fall instruction.
"Chicago Public Schools reopens right after Labor Day and anybody sitting here in the middle of July, that thinks that they have a crystal ball and can tell you with any degree of certainty what the world is going to look like then I think is foolish," Lightfoot said in an interview on MSNBC. "But the reality is we've got to prepare. So our Chicago Public Schools is going to be releasing later this week, a framework that's going to be a starting point for conversation, particularly with parents and other people in the school community that are vital to any kind of reopening strategy."
Lightfoot didn't give specifics on what the framework would include but said "we've got to have maximum flexibility to make sure that parents have predictability, but they've got a flexible schedule that they can depend upon."
"And so we're going to start that kind of conversation with parents and teachers, staff and other stakeholders," she said.
Lightfoot has also repeatedly, in recent days, warned of an uptick in coronavirus cases among younger age groups - pleading with everyone to follow public health guidelines.
"We do have concerns and we specifically have concerns in the 18- to-29-year-old cohort where we're starting to see an uptick in cases," Lightfoot said in a news conference Monday.
"I can't emphasize enough why wearing a face cover every single time you leave your house is critically important," she said. "Now, that's a challenge with that cohort, because we'll all hearken back to the time when we were that age, we felt like, you know, we were invincible. But this virus doesn't discriminate."
Lori Lightfoot went on to say that she would not hesitate to reinstate restrictions to slow the spread of the deadly coronavirus, including shutting down indoor dining and bars once again, as the city sees an uptick in cases, particularly among younger age groups.
"I'm not going to take anything off the table," Lightfoot said when asked specifically if she was considering rolling back indoor dining, which resumed across Illinois when the state entered phase four of its reopening plan on June 26.
"I don't think we're at that point just yet," she continued. "But I am deeply concerned because we're starting to see this uptick. We're starting to see an uptick in the number of daily cases, deaths are going down, which is great. Most of our hospital indicators are good, but the case rate, the daily accumulation of cases is something I'm definitely concerned about. And we're not going to hesitate to take the steps that are necessary if we continue to see a rise in that number."
Chicago has been in phase four of its reopening plan since June 26. The city implemented a system to determine if the reopening should stall or possibly even move backwards based on several metrics, including number of cases, positivity rate in testing, contact tracing capabilities, hospitalization data and more.
As long as metrics continue to be met, or stay "green," cautious reopening plans can advance. If some metrics are not being met, or become "yellow," the city will "pause and monitor."
But if the city's progress turns "red," plans will stop and some restrictions may be reinstated, officials said.
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