Illinois COVID Update Today: IL reports 5,344 new coronavirus cases, 15 deaths

CHICAGO (WLS) — Illinois reported 5,344 new COVID cases and 15 deaths Tuesday.

There have been at least 3,189,086 total COVID cases as of Tuesday, including at least 33,684 related deaths in the state since the pandemic began.

As of Monday night, 846 patients in Illinois were reported to be in the hospital with COVID-19. Of those, 88 patients were in the ICU, and 36 patients with COVID-19 were on ventilators.

A total of 22,057,822 vaccine doses have been administered in Illinois as of Monday, and 64.79% of the state’s population is fully vaccinated. The seven-day rolling average of vaccines administered daily is 13,115.

Officials have been urging people to mask up and avoid gatherings altogether if you have any symptoms at all.

Chicago and several suburban counties are now at a “medium” community level, defined by the CDC as having more than 200 new cases per 100,000 people in the past seven days.

“There unfortunately is a misconception that we’re out of this, and so I think people are not as cautious as they were before,” said Dr. Susan Bleasdale, director for infection prevention at UI Health.

Chicago city officials are now strongly recommending masks be worn in indoor public spaces, including on CTA and in CPS schools.

“Everyone should be wearing a mask,” said Dr. Emily Landon, director of infection prevention at UChicago Medicine. “If you’ve got an event coming up that you don’t want to be sick for, a vacation that you don’t want to miss because you’re home with COVID, you need to be wearing a mask all the time.”

For now, it’s still a recommendation and not a requirement. But if hospitalizations continue to climb, that could be on the horizon.

The move to medium level came ahead of busy Mother’s Day weekend for many with families planning get togethers. Doctors cautioned that rapid tests may not detect COVID if your symptoms are mild.

“You want to be really careful,” Bleasdale said. “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.”

CDPH also said Chicagoans should also ensure that they and everyone in their social network is up-to-date with COVID-19 vaccines and boosters, test in the setting of any potential COVID-19 symptoms and continue to follow all isolation and quarantine requirements.

Still, CDPH Commissioner Allison Arwady said Chicago moving into the “medium” level does not mean a citywide mask mandate, restrictions on public gatherings or reinstatement of vaccination requirements at this time. Arwady said CDPH would consider those measures if the city moved into the “high” community level, “which we aren’t close to reaching in Chicago right now.”

“We obviously don’t want to get there, and exercising some more caution now will help us keep COVID in control in Chicago,” Arwady said.

She added that moving into the “medium” level is not cause for alarm.

“We’ve been expecting to reach the Medium Level for some time now,” said CDPH Commissioner Allison Arwady. “It’s not a cause for alarm, since most cases right now are mild and thankfully our COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths remain at or near all-time pandemic lows in Chicago. But it is reason for more caution, and for more care with masking, since more people in Chicago are infected with COVID right now. Remember that people can spread COVID for two days before they develop symptoms, so putting on a mask in public indoor settings is an easy way to help protect our city while we’re at a Medium COVID Level.”

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.”

The video in the player above is from a previous report.

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