CDPH COVID-19 Update: Cook County Still at Medium COVID-19 Community Level Based on CDC Metrics

September 16, 2022

Bivalent boosters widely available, City hosting two flu/COVID-19 vaccination clinics tomorrow

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

CHICAGO – COVID-19 case rates continue to hold steady in Chicago and Cook County and the city remains at the Medium Level according to the latest Community Level metrics released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) announced today. 

Heading into fall and winter, CDPH asks all Chicagoans to get up-to-date with COVID vaccines before the weather gets cold—for those age 12 and up that means getting the updated COVID vaccine, known as a bivalent booster, that became available this month. All Chicagoans age 6 months and older should also get a flu shot to stay healthy and avoid serious illness. 

The bivalent booster is the first update to the original COVID vaccine, designed to better protect against the dominant Omicron subvariants BA.4/BA.5 that are currently circulating. The bivalent booster generates a stronger immune response against current variants as well as potential for broader protection against future variants. All residents 12 and older who have completed a primary vaccine series are eligible to get the new bivalent booster vaccine two months after their most recent vaccine or booster.

Chicago has seen a seven-day-rolling average of about 4,300 bivalent booster doses administered per day since Labor Day. In comparison, when the first monovalent boosters were recommended in October 2021 for people 65+, those with underlying medical conditions, and anyone who received a J&J vaccine, approximately 3,500 doses were being administered a day. Monovalent booster doses peaked in late December 2021 and early January 2022, when anyone 16+ was eligible, at approximately 10,000 doses per day.

“We still have a long way to go to get enough Chicagoans protected with the updated COVID vaccine before the cold weather sets in or another variant emerges--but with thousands of vaccinations a day, we are off to a good start in helping residents receive this critical bivalent booster,” said CDPH Commissioner Allison Arwady, M.D. “I am, though, very concerned about lower initial uptake among Black and Latinx residents, given that COVID has caused the most severe illness in predominantly Black and Latinx neighborhoods.”

As of September 14, more than 32,000 doses of the updated booster have been administered to Chicagoans. Of those, 65 percent have gone to White/non-Latinx residents, 12 percent to Black/non-Latinx residents, 12 percent to Latinx residents, and 8 percent to Asian residents. In addition, 35 percent of doses have gone to residents age 60 or older.

Of those eligible to receive the new booster vaccine, 35 percent are White/non-Latinx, 27 percent are Latinx, 23 percent are Black/non-Latinx, and 8 percent are Asian. In addition, 23 percent of those eligible are age 60 or older.

“The updated vaccine is so important to protect yourself and those you love against severe illness and hospitalization ahead of the fall and winter,” said Dr. Arwady. “The vaccine is free and in hundreds of Chicago locations—you can head to your pharmacy or doctor, make an appointment to be vaccinated at home, or come to one of our CDPH clinics this weekend. But, please, make plans to get vaccinated as soon as you can.”

The City is hosting two flu/COVID-19 vaccination clinics tomorrow, Saturday, September 17 at Malcolm X College, 1900 W. Jackson Blvd, and Harry S. Truman College, 1145 W. Wilson Ave. Both are open 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Registration is recommended, but walk-ins will be accommodated. Primary series COVID vaccines for Chicagoans 6 months and up will be offered, as well as bivalent boosters for those who are eligible. Additional flu/COVID-19 vaccination clinics at City College locations will be held throughout the fall. 

In addition, CDPH has scheduled dozens of mobile vaccination events in the coming weeks to administer bivalent booster vaccines and flu vaccines for high-risk populations such as senior centers, CHA facilities and other congregate living settings, as well as vaccination events all over the city in partnership with aldermen and community organizations.

Details about the new bivalent booster vaccine can be found at Chicago.gov/Boost. Residents can find out where to get the updated vaccine at vaccines.gov or by calling the City at (312) 746-4835.

COVID-19 By the Numbers 

The number of new laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases per 100,000 population in the past 7 days across Cook County was 137 (129 last week, but still lower than 158 three weeks ago), and the number of new weekly hospital admissions per 100,000 population was 10.7 (10.2 last week, 11.3 two weeks ago). The percentage of staffed inpatient beds in Cook County in use by patients with confirmed COVID-19 was 4.3 percent (4.2 percent last week, 4.5 percent two weeks ago).  

Laboratory-diagnosed COVID case rates in Chicago continue to decline, while hospital admissions and percentage of staffed beds occupied by COVID-19 patients remain steady. The City’s COVID-19 case rate per 100,000 population is 108 (135 last week), and the percentage of hospital beds occupied by patients with COVID-19 is 4.3 percent (4.1percent last week, 4.2 two weeks ago).  

Based on the latest data from CDC, Cook County levels are as follows.

Metrics
 

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

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

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

  [GOAL is <200] [GOAL is <10] [GOAL is <10%]
City of Chicago 108 8.3% 4.3%
Cook County (including City of Chicago) 137 10.7% 4.3%
Cook County metrics are calculated by the CDC and posted on the CDC Community Levels website (data as of 9/15/2022).

The CDC determines COVID-19 Community Levels as Low, Medium, or High, based on the number of new local COVID-19 cases, regional COVID-19 hospital admissions, and COVID-19 hospital capacity in the prior week. The Levels were developed to help communities decide what prevention steps to take based on the latest local COVID-19 data.

When the CDC updates its COVID-19 Community Levels national map each week, the City of Chicago and suburban Cook County data are combined into one weekly case metric for Cook County. Hospitalization data, in contrast, reflect a burden on the whole federally defined Health Service Area, which includes hospitals in Cook, Lake, DuPage, and McHenry counties.

CDPH also continues to track and report COVID-19 hospital burden specifically for Chicago hospitals every day on its dashboard and uses this local hospital data to make further mitigation decisions. Visit chi.gov/coviddash for the Chicago COVID-19 daily data dashboard.

COVID-19 Community Levels in the U.S. by County

Nationwide, cases continue to decline, with less than 50 percent of the U.S. either at the Medium or High Level. Earlier this summer the percentage of counties at the Medium or High Levels was at times as high as 80 percent. In Illinois, 20 of the state’s 102 counties are at a High COVID-19 Level (nine fewer than last week). Travelers should review CDPH’s travel guidance and check the CDC map to know whether areas they are visiting are Low, Medium, or High risk for COVID-19 and take proper precautions.

  Community Level Number of Counties Percent of Counties % Change from Prior Week
  High

431
(555 last week)

13.37% -3.85%
  Medium

1,157
(1,279 last week)

35.9% -3.8%
  Low

1,635
(1,388 last week)

50.73% 7.65%

For additional COVID-19 news, see CDPH’s weekly update or visit Chicago.gov/COVID.

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