CDPH Weekly COVID-19 Update
Chicago’s COVID-19 Risk Level Remains Low and COVID-19 Treatments are More Widely Available
COVID-19 Joint Information Center firstname.lastname@example.org
CHICAGO— The Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) reported weekly COVID-19 statistics today and said the city continues to remain in the Low-Risk category on the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC’s) COVID-19 Community Levels index. Test positivity rates are coming down after a brief increase caused by a testing decline while many schools were on spring break. Severe outcomes in Chicago, including both COVID-19 hospitalizations and COVID-19 deaths, continue to remain at or near all-time pandemic lows.
CDPH also said that treatments for people with COVID-19 who are at increased risk for severe outcomes are now more widely available than ever, including for the first time, children. Early outpatient treatment of COVID-19 can avert serious, potentially life-threatening illness.
Earlier in the year, some COVID-19 therapeutics were in short supply. Now antivirals for COVID-19 are widely available and can be accessed with a provider prescription at pharmacies nationwide and at Test to Treat locations. Yesterday, the FDA expanded approval of one of the treatments, remdesivir, to include pediatric patients 28 days of age and older weighing at least 3 kilograms (about 7 pounds). If you test positive for COVID-19, including on a home test, contact your healthcare provider right away to discuss treatment options.
“COVID is not gone, – and may never be gone – but I remain pleased with Chicago’s current position at this stage of the pandemic,” said Allison Arwady, M.D., Commissioner of CDPH. “Our risk level remains low, daily case counts are increasing only gradually, and our hospital and healthcare system has plenty of capacity. We have the right tools in our toolbox to prevent severe illness and death from COVID-19 including vaccination and treatments – more available and accessible than ever.”
LOW is <200
New COVID-19 Hospital Admissions
LOW is <10
Proportion of staffed inpatient beds occupied by COVID-19 patients
Chicago remains at low level based on the COVID-19 Community Levels from the CDC, which is determined by looking at hospital beds being used, hospital admissions, and the total number of new COVID-19 cases in an area.
Chicago metrics are calculated based on Chicago-level data (data as of 4/26/2022).
CDC’s COVID-19 Community Levels combine case counts, new COVID hospital admissions, and hospital beds occupied by COVID patients to determine risk level. Because Chicago remains in Low-Risk status, masks are not currently required in most indoor settings in Chicago, though many Chicagoans continue to wear them.
BY THE NUMBERS
Over the last week, an average of 585 Chicagoans each day had a positive laboratory test for COVID-19, up from an average of 465 cases per day the week prior. An average of 10 Chicagoans are being hospitalized with COVID-19 each day, the same as last week; and an average of fewer than one Chicagoan is dying from COVID-19 per week.
Current test positivity is 3.8%, down from 5.3% the previous week, as expected with the return of students from spring break and increase in reported tests. As a reminder, test positivity generally has a reduced utility due to the widespread use of point-of-care and at-home tests. That is why the CDC’s COVID-19 Community Levels do not rely on percent positivity to measure the impact of COVID-19 illness on communities.
Additional data is available on the City’s COVID dashboard at Chi.gov/COVIDdash.
In addition to COVID-19 Community Levels, the CDC also measures vaccine equity in every county in the U.S., based on vaccination rates and social vulnerability. The CDC Social Vulnerability Index (SVI) uses U.S. Census data on categories like poverty, housing, and vehicle access to estimate a community’s ability to respond to and recover from disasters or disease outbreaks.
On this CDC matrix, Cook County is at a moderate-high level of social vulnerability, meaning we are at higher risk to properly respond and recover from disease outbreaks. However, Cook County’s vaccination rate is 77.3%, which is among the highest vaccination rates across other counties with similar levels of SVI. This is a testament to the work our county and city has done to ensure equitable education, outreach, and distribution of vaccine despite social, economic, or environmental factors that create challenges to access.
“I was pleased to see our position with these important metrics,” said Dr. Arwady. “Based on the data we released just yesterday showing the major dip in life expectancy in the first year of the pandemic, we know COVID has had a disproportionate impact on communities of color in Chicago, which is why we have continued to push vaccine equity so strongly. We are making progress in leveling the vaccine gap, and the CDC’s index shows we are ahead of many other parts of the country.”
Data released by CDPH yesterday show that life expectancy in Chicago dropped almost two years from 2019 to 2020, the first year of the pandemic. The data is in line with national trends. The steepest declines were for Black and Latinx Chicagoans. But life expectancy declines were seen in all races and nearly all community areas. COVID-19 deaths were a significant driver of this trend, representing 4,108 of the total 6,183 more deaths than expected compared to the previous 5-year average. However, the virus was only the second leading cause of death in 2020 – behind heart disease, which also increased along with other chronic diseases like diabetes. The city also saw higher than expected increases in deaths from accidents (overdoses, car crashes) and homicides. To learn more about the impact of the first year of COVID, visit chi.gov/COVIDimpact.
Staying up to date with COVID-19 vaccination remains the best way to prevent serious outcomes of COVID-19, including severe disease, hospitalization, and death.
- More than 2 million Chicagoans have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine – that’s 82.4 percent of residents age 5 and older. And 73.3 percent have completed the vaccine series.
- Vaccinations and boosters remain free and widely available in Chicago:
- They can be obtained through healthcare providers and pharmacies across the city, often without an appointment
- Through Protect Chicago At Home, all Chicagoans age 5 and up are eligible to be vaccinated free of charge in their own home
- Primary vaccine doses, as well as first and second booster doses, are all available
- Up to 10 people can be vaccinated per household, with weekend and evening appointments available
- Call (312) 746-4835 to make an appointment or register at Chicago.gov/AtHome
- Lastly, vaccines can be found at mobile vaccination events in partnership with community-based organizations, and at CPS locations throughout the week – a full calendar of events can be found at Chicago.gov/VaxCalendar
All COVID-19 vaccines are offered at no cost, with no insurance and no government ID required. For more information about COVID-19 vaccines in Chicago, visit Chicago.gov/COVIDvax.