CDPH Weekly COVID-19 Update
Chicago’s COVID-19 Risk Level in Hospitalizations and Death Rates Continues to Remain Low
CHICAGO—The Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) reported weekly COVID-19 statistics today and said the city remains at low risk, even as cases continue to gradually increase in Chicago and across much of the country. Severe outcomes in Chicago, including both COVID-19 hospitalizations and COVID-19 deaths, have declined to all-time pandemic lows. This helps keeps Chicago in the Low-Risk category on the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC’s) COVID-19 Community Levels index.
The omicron subvariant BA.2 now represents more than 80 percent of COVID-19 cases in the Midwest and across the nation. No new variants of concern have emerged. CDPH continues to evaluate a variety of metrics and data sources to monitor the pandemic and determine appropriate public health response for the city.
“As the virus continues to evolve, our monitoring systems remain strong and our health care system is able to respond,” said CDPH Commissioner Allison Arwady, M.D. “The steady, gradual increase in cases does not suggest that we will see a large spike like we saw with the original Omicron variant. Even more important—and very different from the beginning of the pandemic—very few cases are resulting in severe illness, thanks to widespread vaccination.”
(per 100,000 people in last 7 days)
[LOW is <200]
New COVID-19 admissions per 100,000 population
[LOW is <10]
Proportion of staffed inpatient beds occupied by COVID-19 patients
[LOW is <10%]
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 4/18/2022).
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.
“We continue to keep a close eye on all metrics,” said Dr. Arwady. “I’m happy to see people choose to wear masks, but at a population level we don’t need to all have them on all the time while COVID community risk is low. If our risk rises to Medium, we would start recommending masks again in public indoor settings, and at High Risk we would require indoor masking while the surge lasted.”
To reiterate, it is possible that a new variant of concern or a change in COVID-19 viral dynamics could require a more conservative approach, but CDPH remains confident with Chicago’s current COVID-19 control.
BY THE NUMBERS
Over the last week, an average of 456 Chicagoans each day had a positive laboratory test for COVID-19, up from an average of 414 cases per day the week prior. Down from the prior week, between 4 and 5 Chicagoans are being hospitalized with COVID-19 each day and fewer than one Chicagoan is dying from COVID-19 daily.
This week, Chicago is seeing an expected temporary increase in test positivity, due to a major drop in the number of tests performed while Chicago Public Schools students were on spring break. Citywide testing was down more than 50% over the last week compared to the week prior, leading to a test positivity of 5.4 percent (up from 2.1 percent last week). 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. As school testing returns this week, we expect to see testing numbers increase and positivity decrease again by week’s end.
Additional data is available on the City’s COVID dashboard at Chi.gov/COVIDdash.
- 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.