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The virus transmission level was lowered last week in several west suburban counties. The CDC lowered DeKalb, Kane, Kendall, Grundy and LaSalle counties back to “medium” risk of transmission. All the others in the Chicago area remain “high,” except for Kankakee County, which is “low.”
There have been at least 3,332,780 total COVID cases in the state since the start of the pandemic and, at least 33,865 related deaths.
RELATED | Chicago COVID update: City moves to CDC’s high risk level
As of Sunday night, 1,191 patients in Illinois were reported to be in the hospital with COVID-19. Of those, 116 patients were in the ICU, and 36 patients with COVID-19 were on ventilators. IDPH reports 24% of ICU beds are available.
IDPH officials reported a seven-day case average of 255 per 100,000 people.
A total of 22,432,221 vaccine doses have been administered in Illinois as of Sunday, and 65% of the state’s population is fully vaccinated. The seven-day rolling average of vaccines administered daily is 11,396.
CDPH commissioner honored for work during COVID pandemic
Looking back at how the city handled the pandemic, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said lives were saved because of the work of her health commissioner, Dr. Allison Arwady, and her team.
“I know personally the thing that kept me going, the thing that gave me strength was to know you were in my corner and I could rely upon you,” Lightfoot said.
Lightfoot choked up as she introduced Arwady to the City Club of Chicago on Monday. The mayor’s loyal top doctor has stuck it out during a time when hundreds of health commissioners around the country have quit or were forced out.
“So many political leaders across the country pointed to health commissioners and said it is their fault, they are the ones wearing masks,” Arwady said.
Arwady said her decisions on mitigations were supported as was her health department’s focus on saving lives in Black and Brown communities, where she said life expectancy had dropped for years even before COVID-19.
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“My whole team has tried to work and apply lessons from COVID into long term strategies to address Chicago’s racial life expectancy gap,” Arwady said.
Arwady said the city plans to take vaccine programs like Protect Chicago Plus and Protect Chicago at Home and use them for other health issues like infant mortality. The idea is bringing health care directly into the community or the home.
“We want to be at the point where every baby born in the city has a nurse visit,” Arwady said.
While she is looking beyond the pandemic, the city remains at high risk for COVID cases, but Arwady is hopeful that will not last long
“As long as hospitals continue to be in good shape, which they are, I think we’ll be coming down on the other side fairly soon,” Arwady said.
And while other public health commissioners and directors have moved on, Arwady said she has no plans to leave, even though she admits she has had offers for other jobs.