Community Transmission and Risk

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) COVID-19 Community Levels

CDC Community COVID-19 Risk Level

COVID-19 Community Levels have been developed by the CDC to help communities decide what prevention steps to take based on the latest local COVID-19 data. Levels are determined each week for each county in the U.S. A county’s risk level can be low, medium, or high based on a combination of three metrics: the number of new local COVID-19 cases; the number of new local COVID-19 hospital admissions; and the proportion of local hospital beds occupied by patients with COVID. 

The Chicago Department of Public Health tracks and reports these metrics daily for City of Chicago residents. The Cook County Department of Public Health tracks and reports these metrics daily for suburban Cook County residents (excluding Chicago). When the CDC updates its COVID-19 Community Levels national map each week (typically on Thursday evenings), both City of Chicago and suburban Cook County daily data are combined into one weekly case metric for Cook County. Hospitalization data, in contrast, reflect burden on the whole federally defined Health Service Area, which includes hospitals in Cook, Lake, DuPage, and McHenry counties. 

Our local risk based on CDC
COVID-19 Community Levels is:

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 303 4.9 3.9%
Cook County (including City of Chicago) 338 8.0 2.5%

Chicago metrics are calculated based on Chicago-level data (data as of 5/16/2022). Cook County metrics are calculated by the CDC and posted on the CDC Community Levels website (data as of 5/12/2022).

CDPH continues to track and report COVID-19 hospital burden specifically for Chicago hospitals every day on its dashboard. Locally, Chicago will adjust its community level if EITHER the City or Cook County reach a Community Level threshold as determined by CDC. However, major mitigation changes (e.g. citywide indoor mask mandates) will be made based specifically on City of Chicago's COVID-19 hospital burden rather than the federally defined Health Service Area. CDPH will update this level on Fridays.

To see the CDC’s U.S. map and read more about county COVID-19 CommunityLevels, visit here.

Medium

In “Medium” risk, the Chicago Department of Public Health strongly recommends individuals: 

  • Stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines 
  • Wear a face mask in indoor public settings where vaccine status is not known 
  • Get testedif you have symptoms 
  • Follow all isolation and quarantine guidance, including wearing a face mask  
  • If you are at high risk for severe illness, talk to your healthcare provider about whether you need to wear a mask and take other precautions  

NEW COVID-19 Cases 

(Per 100,000 people in the past 7 days)

Indicators Low Medium High
Fewer than 200 New COVID-19 admissions per 100,000 population (7-day total) <10.0 10.0-19.9 ≥20.0
Percent of staffed inpatient beds occupied by COVID-19 patients (7-day average) <10.0% 10.0-14.9% ≥15.0%
200 or more New COVID-19 admissions per 100,000 poplation (7-day total) NA <10.0 ≥10.0
Percent of staffed inpatient beds occupied by COVID-19 patients (7-day average) NA <10.0% ≥10.0%

The COVID-19 community level is determined by the higher of the inpatient beds and new admissions indicators, based on the current level of new cases per 100,000 population in the past 7 days.

For those traveling, the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) recommends Chicagoans take precautions against COVID-19 if visiting areas of the United States that have clusters of medium to high COVID-19 risk levels, based on the CDC’s COVID-19 Community Levels.  View the City’s Travel Advisory (updated weekly) to learn more.  

Low

There is low community spread and limited impact on healthcare system. 

  • Stay up to date* with COVID-19 vaccines
  • Get tested if you have symptoms
  • Follow all isolation and quarantine guidance, including wearing a face mask

Medium

There is medium community spread and/or some impact on the healthcare system. 

  • Stay up to date* with COVID-19 vaccines
  • Recommend wearing a face mask in indoor public settings where vaccine status is not known
  • Get tested if you have symptoms
  • Follow all isolation and quarantine guidance, including wearing a face mask 
  • If you are at high risk for severe illness, talk to your healthcare provider about whether you need to wear a mask and take other precautions 

High

There is high community spread and high potential for healthcare system strain.  

  • Wear a mask indoors in public
  • Consider avoiding higher-risk activities (such as crowded indoor gatherings) 
  • Limit gatherings to small numbers  
  • Stay up to date* with COVID-19 vaccines
  • Get tested if you have symptoms
  • Additional precautions may be needed for people at high risk for severe disease

*Up-to-date means a person has received all recommended COVID-19 vaccines, including any booster dose(s) when eligible.

Masks are effective at reducing transmission of COVID-19. Regardless of county risk level, people may choose to wear a mask at any time, even if they are vaccinated. People with symptoms, a positive COVID-19 test, or exposure to someone with COVID-19 should wear a mask.