Cook County could reinstate a number of COVID-19 restrictions aimed at reducing rising cases as the county begins to see a third surge of the coronavirus, health officials said Saturday.
Both the city of Chicago and Cook County have each recently seen more than 600 new daily cases, according to Dr. Rachel Rubin, senior medical officer and co-lead at the Cook County Department of Public Health.
A couple weeks ago, Rubin said, approximately 250 cases were reported each day. On Saturday, Illinois saw 2,839 new cases and 13 deaths as the positivity rate increased from 4.1 to 4.3%.
A total of 145,315 doses of COVID-19 vaccines were administered in a recent 24-hour span, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health. In all, a total of 6,188,607 doses have been administered across the state.
Health officials in the city of Chicago have expressed worries about a “quantum leap” in coronavirus cases, saying that a failure to curtail those gains could cause some restrictions to be re-imposed after they were loosened earlier this year.
According to data from the IDPH, the city of Chicago has seen its seven-day positivity rate rise from 3.2% on March 19 to 4.5% as of March 28, a rapid increase that is alarming some public health experts.
While no decisions have been made about reinstating restrictions in Cook County, officials say change could come in the next week, and the biggest focus may be on indoor activities.
“The data has shown it is not necessarily outdoor activities, but indoor, so these are the kind of things we have to evaluate and look at the data,” Rubin said.
As is the case in Chicago, Rubin said cases are spiking in Cook County’s younger population, particularly people in their 20s and 30s, as that age group isn’t largely vaccinated.
Even with availability of the coronavirus vaccine becoming more widespread, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Dr. Allison Arwady, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, are urging residents, especially younger ones, to continue to adhere to social distancing protocols and to wear their masks in public, saying that the end of the pandemic could be in sight if residents continue to stay vigilant.
“The actions that you take now will impact what we can all do in the future,” Lightfoot said earlier in the week. “We don’t want to be forced to take any steps back, or worse, close those things down because we haven’t done what is necessary now to remain diligent. COVID-19 is still here, it is still killing people in our city every single day. So we have got to remain diligent.”