The city of Chicago is seeing an uptick in COVID cases, but Dr. Allison Arwady, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, told a news conference Thursday that there was one key takeaway that she wants the people of Chicago to pay attention.
“We continue to see cases, but overall the outbreak remains well under control,” Arwady said.
Community spread currently remains low, according to the Chicago Department of Public Health.
On Thursday, the city of Chicago recorded 304 new COVID cases, an increase of 28% over the past week.
Even with this increase, hospitalizations have fallen by 38%, with only seven Chicagoans on average hospitalized with COVID per day.
COVID deaths have also continued to decline, officials said.
“We have the lowest number of Chicagoans dying from COVID now than we’ve had since COVID hit the city,” Arwady added.
CDPH is closely monitoring the spread of the Omicron subvariant, better known as BA.2, which now makes up the majority of COVID cases in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Public health officials say that while they are still encouraging residents to get vaccinated and receive a booster shot, some evidence suggests that having been sick with the omicron variant could potentially provide residual protection against the undercurrent. -variant BA.2.
“If you had a breakthrough infection during this January period which was most likely Omicron, you have additional protection, we expect,” Arwady said. “Not 100% protection, but good protection against BA.2.”
The city still insists on vaccination, saying anyone over the age of 12 should have had 3 shots. So far, Chicagoans are lagging behind, with less than half of that eligible population receiving a booster.
How about a second booster? It is recommended for people aged 65 and over and people with weakened immune systems if you are over 50.
“I don’t want people to think this is something everyone has to get,” Arwady added. “I expect that maybe in the fall we might see a new COVID vaccine formulation that is more specific for the variants.”
It is still unclear when this decision could be made.