Facing rising coronavirus case numbers, Chicago officials on Friday plan to impose an indoor mask mandate, sources told the Sun-Times Tuesday.
No other details about the mandate were available. A news conference is planned for 2:30 p.m. at City Hall with Dr. Allison Arwady, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, as well as the department’s medical director, Dr. Geraldine Luna, and Kenneth J. Meyer, acting commissioner of the city’s Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection.
In announcing the news conference, city officials noted that Chicago’s average daily case count was now at 400. Just days before the Lollapalooza music festival in Grant Park, Mayor Lori Lightfoot is saying she would not hesitate to return to a mask mandate if Chicago’s daily rate of coronavirus cases was “consistently going over” 200.
Chicago’s numbers highlights a concerning statewide trend as all but four to the state’s 102 counties are in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s “high transmission” category. Three of the other four checked in one level below that, the “substantial transmission” category.
High transmission is defined as more than 100 new cases per 100,000 residents over the past seven days or a test positivity rate exceeding 10% over that period.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Monday had warned “we are going to be in this a little while longer.”
“I’m talking about COVID-19 and the challenge that it brings to all of us,” Pritzker said. “We’re going to be dealing with this for some time, it’s clear because there are many people who aren’t yet vaccinated — and we want them to go get vaccinated as soon as possible — but the variants are also alive, well and moving across the world.”
Earlier this month, Pritzker issued a statewide mask requirement for schools. The Democratic governor hasn’t provided an end date for when students, teachers and staff would be able to ditch the face coverings, saying “this virus tends to have cycles to it and variants” and the face coverings are one way to keep people “safe and healthy in our schools.”
Chicagoans can request an in-home shot by calling (312) 746-4835. For help finding a dose in suburban Cook County, visit cookcountypublichealth.org or call (833) 308-1988. To find other Illinois providers, visit coronavirus.illinois.gov or call (833) 621-1284.
Contributing: Rachel Hinton