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CHICAGO (CBS) –– Mayor Lori Lightfoot has tested positive for COVID-19, and will be working from home.
Lightfoot announced her diagnosis in a brief statement posted to her Facebook and Twitter pages.
“I am experiencing cold-like symptoms but otherwise feel fine which I credit to being vaccinated and boosted. I will continue to work from home while following the CDC guidelines for isolation,” she wrote. “This is an urgent reminder for folks to get vaccinated and boosted as it’s the only way to beat this pandemic.”
Lightfoot is fully vaccinated, and received a COVID-19 booster shot in November.
This is an urgent reminder for folks to get vaccinated and boosted as it’s the only way to beat this pandemic.
— Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot (@chicagosmayor) January 11, 2022
The announcement of her diagnosis comes one day after Lightfoot and Chicago Public Schools officials reached a tentative agreement on COVID-19 safety protocols with the Chicago Teachers Union, which allowed teachers to return to school buildings on Tuesday, and will bring students back to classrooms on Wednesday, after five days of classes were canceled when CTU members voted last week to work remotely amid a stalemate over a safe return to in-person classes during the latest surge of the pandemic.
During the stalemate, Lightfoot had repeatedly asserted that schools are safe for students, despite a record surge in COVID-19 cases citywide in recent weeks, and had called the union’s remote work job action an illegal strike.
The tentative deal between CPS and CTU establishes metrics on how individual schools will switch to remote learning if there’s an outbreak among staff or students, as well as provide for more thorough contact tracing and enhanced COVID testing layers.
The agreement would establish safety metrics that would shift individual schools to remote learning for five days if at least 30% of teachers are absent for two days because of COVID-19, and the use of substitutes can’t get that absence rate under 25%; or if 40% of the school’s students are required to quarantine.
The deal also calls for an opt-in testing program, with the district and the union agreeing to work together to increase student participation in testing to 100% by Feb. 1.
CPS also will offer new incentives to encourage substitute teachers to accept assignments during the pandemic, and provide KN95 masks for students and staff.
Lightfoot’s positive test for COVID-19 comes as the city is averaging 4,793 new COVID-19 cases per day over the past week, down 8% from one week ago. The city’s test positivity rate stands at 18.9%, down from 21% one week ago.
Just hours before Lightfoot’s announcement, Chicago Public Health Director Dr. Allison Arwady said she was encouraged that the city’s COVID cases seem to be starting to trend downward, but she said it’s too soon to say if the latest surge has peaked in Chicago.
“There are some signs of promise in terms of the Omicron surge here,” Arwady said. “I want to be very clear here that we need to see signs of progress for a number of days here.”
Arwady said case rates in Chicago are still “extremely high,” but she said she’s encouraged that the rate of infection appears to be slowing.
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“We are on it, and we are following closely, but I just want people to recognize we do need to see some more days of improvement here before we could for sure say that things have peaked,” Arwady said.
Source: CBS Chicago