NOTE: NBC Chicago will be offering a live stream of the event in the above player starting at 1:30 p.m.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot and the Chicago Health Department are expected to release a COVID-19 update on Monday as the number of cases in the city continues to surge ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday.
The mayor, who will be joined by other city leaders, will discuss the city’s vaccination efforts before the holidays as Chicago re-enters a state of high transmission.
A press conference is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. at the Northwest Side Housing Center. (Watch live in player above)
Last week, Dr. Allison Arwady, commissioner for the Chicago Department of Public Health, “we’re on a spike” and she expects the numbers to keep rising with the Thanksgiving holiday events.
“I expect there will be more transmissions in connection with holidays, especially when unvaccinated people congregate,” said Arwady.
Chicago had an average daily case rate of 528 new cases per day, according to data released on Friday. That’s 416 a week ago.
That number is much higher than the low of 34 the city saw in late June, but remains lower than the more than 700 cases per day the city saw during the recent surge earlier this year.
An increase in cases was not unexpected as many health professionals raised concerns as the cold weather is forcing people indoors.
“We are right in the middle of this COVID surge. [It’s] No surprise when we go into winter, ”said Arwady. “I know we’re stressing that, but now is the time to get vaccinated for the holidays. It’s starting to protect, and sooner it will be better.”
According to the Illinois Department of Health, the state averaged 3,560 new cases of COVID per day over the past week. That’s 72% more than the 2,069 new cases the state saw each day on October 27, the lowest point since the delta-driven surge.
While the recent increases in cases are causing some concern among officials, the upward trend is still not nearly as high as it was in the summer. On September 4, the state recorded 4,440 new cases of COVID per day, the highest number the state had seen since widespread vaccination against the coronavirus began.
Both numbers are still pale compared to the dramatic increase in cases the state saw last fall. In fact, the spike in COVID cases peaked exactly a year ago, on November 16, 2020, with the state recording an average of 12,384 new COVID cases per day.
Despite rising numbers, many health officials, including Arwady, don’t expect drastic new measures to contain the cases.
“Unvaccinated Chicagoans of all ages are more likely to be hospitalized,” she admitted, “(but) I certainly don’t expect the big bans we saw early on.”
With a possible spike expected around Thanksgiving, health officials say precautionary measures are taken, but ultimately the decision is up to every family.
“… you have to decide how much risk you will tolerate,” said Khan. “Is the risk of having an unvaccinated guest worth the benefit of having them there?”
And hope is on the horizon, especially when it comes to Christmas, as children between the ages of 5 and 11 have the option to be fully vaccinated.
In order for the series to be ready by Christmas, children must have received their first dose by November 19th.
Still, unvaccinated teenagers continue to have the highest COVID case rate in Chicago.