Chicago will reopen fully on June 11, along with the rest of Illinois, as the COVID-19 pandemic recedes, Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced Thursday.
On May 4, Lightfoot said the city was on track to fully reopen on July 4, in line with a deadline for overall reopening set by President Joe Biden soon after he took office in January.
However, a steep decline in the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in the past month — fueled by widely available and very effective vaccines against the virus — means the city can lift all restrictions on businesses and gatherings in eight days, Lightfoot said Thursday.
Lightfoot made the announcement during an online question-and-answer session hosted by Dr. Allison Arwady, the commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health.
An average of 135 Chicagoans have been diagnosed each day with the coronavirus during the past week, a 44% decrease from the previous week, according to Chicago Department of Public Health data. The city’s test positivity rate has dropped to 2% from 2.9% during the past seven days, according to city data.
“It’s not just that this news is good,” Arwady said. “It’s great.”
Hospitalizations for COVID-19 have dropped 57% in the past week, according to city data.
However, Lightfoot and Arwady warned that lagging vaccinations could trigger a resurgence of COVID-19 during the fall and winter.
“A note of caution: COVID’s still here, still with us,” Lightfoot said.
Chicagoans interested in getting vaccinated against COVID-19 can find an appointment or walk-in opportunity on the city’s calendar or by calling the city’s vaccine hotline at 312-746-4835.
Vaccination events will take place at parks, beaches, farmers markets, churches and food pantries as well as at popular neighborhood destinations throughout the summer, officials said.
Chicagoans ages 65 or older, or anyone with a disability or medical condition, are eligible to have COVID-19 vaccines brought directly to their homes, and can make an arrangement by calling the city’s hotline.
Approximately 71% of Chicagoans older than 65 have gotten at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, while more than 62% are fully vaccinated, according to city data. That lags vaccination efforts statewide.
More than 52% of Chicagoans have gotten at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose, according to city data.
White Chicagoans are more likely to have been vaccinated against COVID-19 than Black or Latino Chicagoans, according to city data.
Approximately 57% of White or Asian Chicagoans have received at least the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, outpacing Black and Latino Chicagoans who are significantly more likely to contract the virus and suffer severe illness or die, according to city data through Wednesday.
More than 35% of Black Chicagoans have gotten their first shot, while approximately 44% of Latino Chicagoans have gotten at least one dose, according to the city’s data.
At its peak in mid-April, the city administered more than 30,000 doses of one of the three approved COVID-19 vaccines per day on average, according to city data. This week, the city administered approximately 8,000 doses per day, according to city data.
Part of the city’s strategy to boost vaccination rates is to send “strike teams” to workplaces as well as senior apartment complexes and wherever people are, officials said.
In addition, the city’s health department has retrofitted several city buses to administer doses of the vaccine as efficiently as possible.