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COVID-19 Risk Drops Across Chicago, Cook County, Even as Hospitalizations Rise | Chicago News

(Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

The threat of COVID-19 eased across Chicago and Cook County Thursday, as federal officials lowered the warning level to “medium” after two weeks at “high,” according to Centers for Disease Control data.

However, Chicago Department of Public Health officials continue to recommend that residents wear masks indoors and on public transportation to reduce their risk of contracting COVID-19 and ensure they are up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines.

COVID-19 posed a high risk in Chicago and Cook County between June 23 and Thursday, but neither state, county or city officials imposed new restrictions designed to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Chicagoans should consider the CDC’s medium level of risk warning as “a yellow light of caution,” Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady has said.

During the past seven days, new hospitalizations each day in Chicago from COVID-19 dropped by 30%, even as a more transmissible variant of COVID-19 spreads, according to city data.

Cook County now has 193 confirmed cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 residents, prompting federal officials to lower the risk level even as hospitalizations have risen across the Chicagoland region.

Cook County now has 11.4 new COVID-19 hospital admissions per 100,000 residents during a seven-day period, according to data released by the CDC. Last week, Cook County had 10.2 new COVID-19 hospital admissions per 100,000 residents during a seven-day period, according to the CDC.

The threshold set by federal health officials to warn residents that the risk of contracting COVID-19 to raise the alert level from “medium” to “high” is 10 new COVID-19 hospital admissions per 100,000 residents, if a county has a case rate of more than 200 confirmed cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 residents.

According to the CDC, 3.9% of staffed hospital beds in Cook County are in use by COVID-19 patients on average during the past seven days.

The city of Chicago has 6.1 new COVID-19 hospital admissions per 100,000 during a seven-day period and a case rate of 191 confirmed cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 residents, according to Chicago Department of Public Health data released Wednesday.

In Chicago, 3.8% of staffed hospital beds are in use by COVID-19 patients, according to CDPH data released Tuesday. If 10% of staffed hospital beds in Cook County are in use by COVID-19 patients on average during the past seven days, the risk level would rise to high, according to the CDC.

Cook County was last at a low COVID-19 risk on May 5.

Federal health officials measure the strain facing hospitals from COVID-19 by the number of new hospital admissions per 100,000 residents during a seven-day period and the percent of staffed hospital beds in use by COVID-19 patients on average during the past seven days.

Contact Heather Cherone: @HeatherCherone | (773) 569-1863 | [email protected]

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