Video: Chicago Department of Public Health Dr. Allison Arwady talks about the need to avoid traveling and gathering amid a surge in COVID-19. (Produced by Blair Paddock)
Mayor Lori Lightfoot urged all Chicagoans on Wednesday to rethink their Thanksgiving plans if they include travel or a gathering with those outside their immediate household amid a continuing surge of the coronavirus.
"Let me put this as bluntly as I can: We are worried about Thanksgiving becoming a superspreader event," Lightfoot said.
Chicago remains under a stay-at-home advisory, which urges residents to avoid non-essential trips outside of their homes. One in 17 Chicagoans likely has an active COVID-19 infection according to data from the Chicago Department of Health, its commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said Wednesday.
That is slightly better than last week, when one in 15 Chicagoans likely had COVID-19, Arwady said.
There is now an average of 1,933 confirmed cases of COVID-19 per day in Chicago, based on a seven-day rolling average. That’s down 20% in a week, according to city data. The city’s test positivity is 12.9%, according to city data.
That means there are six times as many cases of COVID-19 in Chicago now as compared with September, and 10 times as many as compared with June, Arwady said.
The rising number of cases has also translated into four times as many Chicagoans hospitalized after being diagnosed with COVID-19, and rising deaths. An average of 100 Chicagoans who have tested positive for the coronavirus die every week, Arwady said.
“It is better to have a Zoom Thanksgiving rather than an ICU Christmas,” Arwady said.
Chicago health officials are prepared to start distributing doses of a COVID-19 vaccine once it is approved by federal officials, Arwady said. In accordance with rules set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, health care workers at greatest risk will get the first doses.
All Chicago adults are likely to be vaccinated in 2021, Lightfoot said.
“We see the light at the end of the tunnel, but we are still in a tunnel,” Lightfoot said. “We are not anywhere close to where we need to be.”