CDPH COVID-19 Update: Cook County Remains in Low COVID-19 Community Level Based on CDC Metrics

September 30, 2022

CDPH urges all Chicagoans 12+ to get updated vaccine now to avoid winter surge

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

CHICAGO – COVID-19 case and hospitalization rates are steadily improving in Chicago and Cook County so both the city and county remain in the Low COVID-19 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. However, uptake of the bivalent booster, the first update to the original COVID vaccine, has been slower than hoped and CDPH officials warned that the region could potentially see a COVID-19 surge this winter if more people aren’t vaccinated. 

“I am pleased to see our region remain in the Low COVID-19 Level, which means fewer Chicagoans are being hospitalized with COVID-19 every day. But we need everyone to remain up-to-date with vaccinations, which means getting the updated vaccine, the bivalent booster, or we are at real risk of potentially seeing another surge this fall or winter as people move indoors,” said CDPH Commissioner Allison Arwady, M.D 

All Chicagoans over the age of 6 months should get both an annual flu shot and come up-to-date with COVID vaccines as soon as possible. For everyone age 12 and up, this includes getting the newly updated COVID vaccine, known as a bivalent booster, which is designed to better protect against the dominant Omicron subvariants BA.4/BA.5 that currently make up the majority of COVID-19 cases in Chicago. The updated vaccine has been designed specifically to protect against those variants, as well as to boost protection against severe outcomes from COVID. The bivalent booster generates a stronger immune response against current variants as well as the potential for broader protection against future variants.  

“Based on what we have seen globally, I am very concerned about the upcoming season and the potential for both large amounts of flu and a COVID-19 resurgence. Please don’t wait to get vaccinated. Do it now to protect yourself, your family, and our whole city,” said Dr. Arwady.  

As of September 29, more than 112,000 doses of the updated booster have been administered to Chicagoans. Of those, 62 percent have gone to White/non-Latinx residents, 14 percent to Black/non-Latinx residents, 12 percent to Latinx residents, and 8 percent to Asian residents. In addition, 38 percent of doses have gone to residents age 60 or older.  

Of Chicagoans currently 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.  

“I remain particularly worried about the lower vaccination rates in our communities of color, where the pandemic has had a disproportionate impact,” said Dr. Arwady. “We have scheduled dozens of community events, and there are hundreds of vaccine locations across the city, from pharmacies to clinical sites to pop-up sites. Please take advantage of them and get your entire family updated with COVID vaccines and a flu shot every year, before the weather turns cold.” 

The City is hosting a flu/COVID-19 vaccination clinic tomorrow, Saturday, October 1 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Kennedy King College, 6301 S. Halsted St. 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 general vaccination events all over the city in partnership with aldermen and community and religious 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 127 (116 last week), and the number of new weekly hospital admissions per 100,000 population was 8.7 (9.6 last week). The percentage of staffed inpatient beds in Cook County in use by patients with confirmed COVID-19 was 3.5 percent (3.8 percent last week).   

The City’s COVID-19 weekly case rate per 100,000 population is 86 (100 last week), and the number of new weekly hospital admissions per 100,000 population is 6.4 (6.6 last week). The percentage of hospital beds occupied by patients with COVID-19 is 3.5 percent (3.6 percent last week).  

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 86 6.4 3.5%
Cook County (including City of Chicago) 127 8.7 3.5%
Cook County metrics are calculated by the CDC and posted on the CDC Community Levels website (data as of 9/29/2022).

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 gradually decline, with only three percent of U.S. counties at the High Level, and 23 percent at the Medium Level. Earlier this summer, the percentage of counties at the Medium or High Levels was at times as high as 80 percent. In Illinois, there are no counties at the High Level, and 20 of the state's 102 counties are now Medium.

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

107
(226 last week)

3.32% -3.7%
  Medium

737
(1,006 last week)

22.89% -8.35%
  Low

2,376
(1,988 last week)

73.79% 12.05%

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

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