CHICAGO – Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot and the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) today announced that Chicago is on track to transition to phase three of the “Protecting Chicago” framework and will begin reopening on Wednesday, June 3. Cautiously reopening in phase three will still require strict physical distancing but will begin to allow for some industries to start reopening. Regardless of industry reopening plans, all residents should continue to abide by important guidance in phase three, including: physically distancing and wearing a face covering; limiting non-business, social gatherings to <10 persons; staying at home if you feel ill or have come into contact with someone with COVID-19; and getting tested if you have symptoms. City of Chicago services that had been closed to the public including parks facilities and libraries will begin reopening on Monday, June 8.
“Throughout the pandemic, I have been overwhelmed by the service and sacrifice made by countless Chicagoans from every corner of our city and every walk of life,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “Our ability to meet this moment would not have been possible without the work and passion of countless other Chicagoans who stepped up for their city during our time of need. It’s because of all these efforts that Chicago is poised to begin cautiously reopening on June 3.”
CDPH Commissioner Allison Arwady, M.D., will issue a public health order extending the Governor’s Stay-at-Home Order in the city until Chicago reopens on June 3.
“While we as a city have made tremendous progress on many of the health-based metrics necessary to move to phase three, the last thing any of us wants is to experience a set-back that would mean another spike in COVID cases and deaths,” said Dr. Arwady. “I’m particularly concerned about the communities and people who have been most impacted by this outbreak because they will experience any resurgence more than others. We need to continue to take this seriously as we move into the next phase.”
Below are updates on the various epidemiological factors guiding Chicago’s reopening decisions:
Declining Rate of New COVID-19 Cases:
- COVID-19 Case Counts (over 14 days, based on a 7-day rolling average):
- Goal: Declining number of new cases, based on incidence and/or percent positivity
- Progress: Daily case counts currently decreasing on average 1.7% for 7 days. Over the prior 7 days they decreased on average 2.9% (Black, non-Latinx counts stable or decreasing for 26 days; Latinx counts decreasing for 16 days; Asian, non-Latinx counts decreasing for 23 of 26 days; and White, non-Latinx counts decreasing for 25 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
- Hospital admissions declining by 13 days
- ICU bed occupancy currently stable or declining for 18 days
- Number of deaths currently decreasing by 2.5% on average for 10 days
- Goal: Declining emergency department visits for influenza-like illness and/or COVID-like illness for 14 days
- Emergency department visits among Chicago residents with influenza-like illnesses currently decreasing on average 2.2% daily over 27 days
- Emergency department visits among Chicago residents with COVID-19 related illnesses currently declining on average 2.9% daily for 12 days
Adequate Hospital Capacity:
- Hospital Capacity Citywide (over 14 days, based on a 7-day rolling average):
- Hospital beds: <1800 COVID patients
- ICU beds: <600 COVID patients
- Ventilators: <450 COVID patients
- <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:
- Goal: Ability to perform 4,500 tests per day
- Progress: Currently conducting almost 5,000 tests per day
- Testing Percent Positivity Rate:
- Goal: Community positivity rate: <15%
- Progress: Community positivity rate currently at 16.3%
- Goal: Congregate settings positive rate: <30%
- Progress: Congregate positivity rate currently at 15.2%
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 greatly expanding its contact tracing and case investigation capabilities. As was announced earlier this week, this includes a Request for Proposals in which the City has allocated $56 million in COVID-19 relief funding for community organizations in areas of high economic hardship to train and certify a 600-person workforce to support contact tracing.
To allow businesses and organizations to prepare for the reopening, Mayor Lightfoot, in partnership with CDPH, industry leaders, labor leaders, and public officials from around Chicago, on May 26 released industry-specific guidelines for businesses, employees, and customers to follow as they begin to safely reopen on June 3. Industry-specific guidelines include details such as how businesses can engage in healthy interactions between workers and customers, how to maintain safe working spaces and conditions, and how to design and monitor workplace operations to create flexibility and maintain safety for employees and customers. The guidelines are aligned with the State-issued guidelines, with additional specificity included for Chicago’s context. Specific guidelines for sporting events, religious services, outdoor performances, summer programs and youth activities, the Lakefront, and museums will be available later in phase three when those entities are predicted to begin reopening.
Lastly, Mayor Lightfoot also announced today a new partnership with legendary Chicago comedy institution, The Second City, to produce a weekly web series that will communicate information regarding the City’s “Protecting Chicago” five-phase framework guiding Chicago’s reopening process amid COVID-19. The show, titled “The Second City’s Phased & Confused” will premiere on both Mayor Lightfoot’s and The Second City’s Facebook pages beginning Thursday, June 4, and will feature a diverse lineup of engaging interviews with city officials and local heroes, original sketch comedy, animation, music, and special guests.
“We’re all improvising right now during this unprecedented time, and no organization is more adept at that skill than The Second City. Our hope is to use this platform to shine a light on the shared questions, concerns, and experiences happening across every walk of life in Chicago right now to bring people together in a way that uplifts and empowers,” said Kelly Leonard, executive director of learning and applied improvisation for The Second City.
“We’ve called Chicago home for over 60 years, and it’s an honor to give back to the city by helping it navigate some of the most confusing issues of our lifetime. We’re grateful to Mayor Lightfoot for the opportunity,” said CEO of The Second City, Andrew Alexander.
Longtime partner to the City of Chicago, BMO Harris Bank, is the inaugural sponsor for the first five episodes of “The Second City’s Phased & Confused” series.
“We’ve been part of Chicago for over 160 years, and we’re committed to boldly growing the good in all of our neighborhoods,” said David Casper, U.S. CEO, BMO Financial Group. “We’re thrilled to be working with Second City to help re-open our great city.”
Phases one and two of the “Protecting Chicago” framework fell under the banner of Mayor Lightfoot’s “Stay Home. Save Lives.” campaign. As the city begins exiting safely out of shelter-in-place, residents will see a new campaign entitled “Be Safe Chicago” for the remaining phases. There are risks with cautiously reopening, and residents must remain diligent in their efforts to keep themselves, their families and neighbors safe during this time. Last month, the City launched a reopening survey that more than 57,000 Chicagoans responded to, which helped inform the City’s plan for reopening. Now, as the city moves into the next phase, it invites residents to fill out a survey to inform Chicago’s recovery planning: http://www.chicago.gov/coronavirus/recoverysurvey.