City officials say a combination of travel and social gatherings over the Christmas weekend are causing a post-holiday surge in COVID-19 cases.
They’re urging the public to get vaccinated and get tested — but many people are reporting challenges in finding tests.
Dr. Allison Arwady, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, told WTTW News that if one has a positive result from a take-home test or they should treat it as a confirmed positive. And those who are unable to get tested for the virus should avoid exposure as much as possible.
The reality is that some Chicagoans will not be able to stay home, including CPS students who will return to the classroom after the New Year. This week, CPS sent messages to parents – asking them to submit COVID-19 take-home tests before returning back to school Jan. 3. But parents and educators have brought up concerns over students not receiving testing kits, as well as over issues with the handling of the rise in COVID-19 cases among students.
As more people resort to visiting unreliable testing pop-up sites and taking rapid tests, uncertainty looms for the vaccinated and vaccinated.
“I wish we had more rapid tests to distribute, but the fact of the matter is the whole country doesn’t have them available,” she said. “We had an order for 10,000 [take-home tests] on hold for more than a month – with no sign of [tests] coming through. So, we are exploring additional ways to expand testing. But more of the problem is not, “How can I find someone who can swab my nose?” The problem is that the laboratory network across the country is stretched so that it’s taking more time for people to receive their tests.”
Arwady repeated the warning heard from public officials “The big surge we are seeing is because of the unvaccinated. Now is the time to [get vaccinated],” she said.