October 19, 2020
Alderman Reilly Reports
Alderman Reilly COVID-19 Updates: COVID-19 Cases, Positivity Rate, and Hospitalizations are Rising in Chicago   
The Chicago Department of Public Health is sounding the alarm on the worrying trends across COVID-19 health metrics, including a significant rise in cases, positivity rate and hospitalizations.  

Over the past two weeks, cases have risen by more than 50%, to over 500 per day. This is the most cases per day seen in Chicago since late May, the tail-end of the pandemic’s first wave, and is coinciding with a worrying increase in hospitalizations, which are also up 25% for non-ICU COVID patients and suspected cases since September 22.  
While this increase has coincided with an increase in testing, with close to 11,000 tests now completed each day, the test positivity rate has also increased more than a percentage point to 5.2%. This indicates that the increase in testing does not fully explain the rise in cases. 

Furthermore, hospitalizations, a measure of severe outcomes which often lags behind an increase in cases, are up to 313 per day citywide. Deaths, too, usually lag an increase in cases and hospitalizations, so City officials are expressing great concern over the possibility of a further increase.
To combat this second wave of COVID-19, the City is calling on all residents to wear masks and strictly limit social gatherings, even small ones. In a gathering of only 10 people, there is a 14% chance that someone is currently infected with COVID-19. This likelihood of someone having COVID-19 increases as gathering sizes grow - there is a 50% chance that someone in a gathering of 50 people has COVID-19. The majority of COVID-19 cases in Chicago are spread between people that know each other, so the best way to stem the tide is to avoid social gatherings and keep your bubble small. 
The significant increase of COVID-19 in Chicago corresponds with a second wave of the virus throughout the entire Chicagoland region, across Illinois, in other Midwestern states and throughout the country.  

As a reminder, the City’s Emergency Travel Order currently covers 26 states and territories, including Wisconsin and Indiana. Chicagoans are urged not to travel to these states and territories, and if they do they are required to quarantine for 14 days upon their return, unless they are an essential worker traveling for business. For Wisconsin and Indiana, the Order applies to individuals coming from Wisconsin or Indiana to Chicago for non-work purposes and Chicago residents returning from Wisconsin or Indiana, unless they are deemed an essential worker.  

To learn more, visit chicago.gov/coronavirus.