Chicago’s COVID-19 Risk Level Remains Low Due to Continued Decline in Severe Cases

April 12, 2022

Hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19 at record lows in the city

COVID-19 Joint Information Center     media.coronavirus@cityofchicago.org

CHICAGO—While Chicago and much of the country continue to see a steady increase in new COVID-19 cases, the city remains at low risk based on the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC’s) COVID-19 Community Levels due to an ongoing decline in severe outcomes, the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) reported today. Hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19 are as low as they’ve been since the start of the pandemic.

“I want to thank everyone who’s been vaccinated and boosted because that’s helped provide protection against severe cases and it’s saved lives,” said CDPH Commissioner Allison Arwady, M.D. “We’re now following the CDC’s COVID-19 Community Levels, which do not rely on case numbers alone to determine our risk levels but also look at severe outcomes and COVID-19’s impact on our hospital systems. And by those metrics Chicago remains in low risk, thanks in large part to our vaccination rates here in the city.”

Metrics
 

New Cases (per 100,000 people in last 7 days)

[LOW is <200]

New COVID-19 admissions per 100,000 population (7-day total)

[LOW is <10]

Proportion of staffed inpatient beds occupied by COVID-19 patients (7-day average)

[LOW is <10%]

Chicago 105 1.4

ICU: 1.9%

Non-ICU: 2.2%

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.

Over the last week, an average of 414 Chicagoans each day had a positive laboratory test for COVID-19, up from an average of 284 cases the week prior. Down from the prior week, Chicago is averaging 6.43 new COVID-19 hospitalizations and less than one COVID-19 death per day. At this time, in all of Chicago, there are only 10 COVID-19 patients utilizing ventilators - a low we have not seen since last July. 

Test positivity also rose slightly and is at 2.1% on an average of 22,199 daily test results. Over the next few weeks, CDPH expects test positivity may temporarily increase due to fewer test results because Chicago Public Schools are on spring break the week of April 11-15. In general, test positivity has a reduced utility due to the widespread use of point-of-care and at-home tests. 

Currently, 82.3 percent of residents age 5 and older – more than 2 million Chicagoans – have received at least one dose of vaccine and 73.2 percent have completed the vaccine series. In Chicago, 59.9% percent of eligible fully vaccinated individuals age 18 and up have also received their booster dose – higher than the rate for U.S. adults (51.5%). For eligible fully vaccinated Chicagoans age 65 and older, 75.6% have received their first booster (U.S. rate 66.5%). Though ahead of the national average, we are still not where we want to be as booster doses have proven to provide substantial benefit. During the Omicron surge, national estimates found those who were fully vaccinated and received a booster dose were 21-times less likely to die from COVID-19 and 7-times less likely to be hospitalized compared to those who were unvaccinated. Additional data is available on the City’s COVID dashboard at Chi.gov/COVIDdash

While vaccination rates remain lower among Black Chicagoans, over the past month Black Chicagoans have led first- and second-vaccination uptake. CDPH’s focus on increasing vaccination in communities where the pandemic has had a dipropionate impact have included a proactive effort by the CDPH Call Center to connect with Chicagoans and schedule vaccine appointments and boosters. With a focus on zip codes with lower vaccination rates, the team has shared resources and helped book more than 200 appointments. Last week (even without accounting for second boosters), CDPH saw an increase in vaccinations from the previous week, the first such increase in over a month.

As part of these outreach efforts, CDPH next week is launching “Dr. Taylor’s Table,” a bi-weekly Instagram Live series on Thursdays at 6:00 p.m. with CDPH Medical Director Erica Taylor, M.D. The conversations will center around health, wellness, and racial equity. CDPH will continue to answer your COVID questions during Ask Dr. Arwady on Tuesdays at 11 a.m. and Ask Dr. Luna on Wednesdays at 11 a.m., both streaming live on Facebook and Twitter. 

While vaccination continues to offer the best protection against hospitalization or death from COVID-19, treatments are also widely available. CDPH recommends those who are at risk of serious outcomes from COVID-19 due to age or other health conditions think in advance about how they can access treatments if they get COVID-19. Most treatments must be started within five days of onset of COVID-19 symptoms, so make a plan in advance for your best treatment options. This might be your regular doctor or health clinic. If you don’t have a medical home, you can find federally qualified health clinics at findahealthcenter.hrsa.gov. Chicagoans can also explore the federal government’s Test to Treat initiative, a nationwide effort to ensure rapid access to COVID-19 testing and treatment. 

In addition to vaccinations and boosters being widely available through healthcare providers and pharmacies across the city, all Chicagoans age 5 and up are eligible to be vaccinated in their own home through the Protect Chicago At Home program. Appointments are available four days a week Saturday through Tuesday, from 8:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. First and second booster doses are offered. Up to 10 people can be vaccinated per household. Call (312) 746-4835 to make an appointment or register at Chicago.gov/AtHome.

CDPH also continues to host mobile vaccination events in partnership with community-based organizations throughout the week. A full calendar of events can be found at Chicago.gov/VaxCalendar. Events at Chicago Public School locations are included on the calendar as well.

All COVID-19 vaccines are offered at no cost, no insurance and no government ID required. For more information about COVID-19 vaccines in Chicago, visit Chicago.gov/COVIDvax.

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