Chicago, Cook County at ‘Medium’ COVID-19 Risk Level for Third Week in a Row – NBC Chicago

Both the city of Chicago and suburban Cook County are at a “medium” COVID-19 community level for the third consecutive week following a drop in metrics, according to health officials.

While case rates continue to decline, the Chicago Department of Public Health urges residents to remain cautious as the highly transmissible BA.4 and BA.5 omicron subvariants dominate new COVID cases, according to a news release from CDPH.

In Chicago specifically, case rates are dropping, while the percentage of staffed beds occupied by COVID patients remains steady. A total of 141 COVID cases have been reported per 100,000 residents, a decline from 157 cases the week prior and 183 two weeks ago. The percentage of hospital beds occupied by COVID patients remains at 4.2%, according to officials.

“I am pleased to see the data continue to trend downward, but COVID-19 is definitely still with us,” stated CDPH Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady. “I encourage everyone to continue to take precautions like masking while indoors in public settings and staying home when sick.”

Following improvements under guidelines determined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, both Chicago and Cook County shifted from “high” to “medium” community level on Aug. 11.

Cases of coronavirus have begun to flatten in recent weeks across the area, and as of late Thursday, just one county remains at a “high community level” of the virus. LaPorte County in northwest Indiana is the lone Chicago-area county to remain at a “high community level,” with residents there urged to wear masks due to an escalation in cases and hospitalizations related to COVID.

Portions of northwest Illinois, including Winnebago County, are also at a “high” level of virus activity, as are chunks of eastern Illinois, including Champaign and Vermillion counties.

Overall, the state has seen a flattening of new COVID cases in recent weeks, averaging 3,625 new cases per day as of Aug. 25.

State health officials do caution residents that those numbers often do not include positive test results that come from at-home tests.