COVID rates Chicago: CDC, health experts urge caution for Mother's Day weekend gatherings as cases rise
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CHICAGO (WLS) — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said Chicago now falls in the medium transmission risk level just ahead of Mother’s Day, warning experts of another possible surge.

That’s why officials are urging people to mask up and avoid gatherings altogether if they are experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms.

Doctors also said an at-home test might not even detect the virus if symptoms are mild.

For now, Chicago officials are not requiring masks, but strongly recommend wearing them, especially in indoor spaces.

Chicago and suburban counties are now at “medium” community level, with more than 200 new cases per 100,000 reported in the last seven days.

“You want to be really careful,” said Dr. Susan Bleasdale, director for infection prevention at UI Health. “If you’re visiting your mother, and there’s someone that is vulnerable, if you’re going to visit them, you may choose to wear a mask the entire time you visit together.”

If Chicago moves from medium to a “high” community level, more mitigations would be possible, but that would require a steep increase in hospitalizations, which have been on the rise but only moderately.

Illinois COVID cases

Illinois reported 7,709 new COVID cases and seven deaths Friday as the CDC said nine Chicago-area counties have reached a “medium” risk of transmission.

There have been at least 3,169,315 total COVID cases as of Friday, including at least 33,660 related deaths in the state since the pandemic began.

RELATED: Count of US COVID deaths nears 1 million: Who we’ve lost and why

As of Thursday night, 808 patients in Illinois were reported to be in the hospital with COVID-19. Of those, 66 patients were in the ICU, and 24 patients with COVID-19 were on ventilators.

A total of 22,018,536 vaccine doses have been administered in Illinois as of Thursday, and 64.76% of the state’s population is fully vaccinated. The seven-day rolling average of vaccines administered daily is 14,163.

Cook, Lake, McHenry, Kane, DuPage, Will, DeKalb, Kendall and Winnebago counties have “medium” COVID risk levels, according to the CDC.

“You know, especially that 0 to 19 group, they’re reporting the most cases every day,” said Chris Hoff, with DuPage County Health Dept. “But we are seeing increases in every age group across the community.”

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