With outdoor gatherings likely becoming scare in colder upcoming months, Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady provided ways people can stay safe while indoors.
Arwady advised that, when visiting other homes, people should visit friends and family within their "social distancing bubble." All other gatherings should be held outdoors, Chicago's top health official said.
In order for an indoor gathering to be safer, people should do the following:
- Wear a mask or face covering
- Keep six feet of distance between individuals
- Avoid large gatherings of people
- Increase ventilation by opening windows as opposed to turning on fans
Increased ventilation can slow the spread of COVID-19, according to Arwady citing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and can be done by opening windows to bring in outdoor air.
Arwady recommended focusing on the flow of outdoor air circulating indoors as opposed to turning on fans, which could bring airflow downward toward individuals.
Health officials said that ultra violet lights that individuals can "just buy" are not recommended to clean surfaces from the coronavirus, unless they are used at a "very high" level.
Arwady said that though air filtration and open windows can aid in decreasing the spread of the virus, it cannot other replace important precautions.
"Generally speaking, always fewer interactions are safer from a COVID perspective," Arwady said. "If you have to the think twice, safer activities broadly are ones that avoid crowds, where everybody can wear a mask, everybody can keep a six foot distance and they're outdoors. As outdoors is less of an option, you got to double down on those other things."
Arwady added that she expects the city to reach an average of 400 new coronavirus cases per day this week, a metric she has been warning about for weeks.
Currently, the city is averaging 364 cases per day, 10% higher than at this time last week, Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said.
"I expect this number to continue to increase," Arwady said. "And in fact, I expect that this number will cross the 400 mark likely this week."
Previously, Arwady had said an average of 400 cases per day would likely mean a rollback to phase three of the city's reopening plan. But she said while the number is alarming, the situation not as drastic as when she made that claim in July.