Chicago to require indoor masks again

Starting Friday, anyone aged 2 and older will have to wear a face mask in indoor public spaces, regardless of vaccine status.

“With the highly transmissible Delta variant causing case rates to increase, now is the time to re-institute this measure to prevent further spread and save lives,” Chicago public health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said in a statement. “We continue to track the data closely and are hopeful this will only be temporary and we can bend the COVID curve, as we’ve done in the past.”

“With the highly transmissible Delta variant causing case rates to increase, now is the time to re-institute this measure to prevent further spread and save lives,” Chicago public health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said in a statement. “We continue to track the data closely and are hopeful this will only be temporary and we can bend the COVID curve, as we’ve done in the past.”

Starting Friday, masks will be REQUIRED in all indoor public settings as the average number of new daily cases of COVID-19 in Chicago surpassed 400. Everyone regardless of vaccination status will be required to wear a mask while indoors in public settings.

This mandate includes all indoor public spaces such as bars and restaurants, gyms, common areas of condos/residential buildings, and private clubs. Like previous mask mandates, masks can be removed during certain activities that require it, and in offices not open to the public, when you can distance.

The new public health order does not include capacity limits at public places, and masking remains optional in outdoor settings, where the risk of COVID-19 transmission is lower. Masks are recommended for unvaccinated individuals in crowded outdoor settings. 

A year ago, Arwady said the prospect, then looming, of the city hitting 400 new cases a day would mark “a line in the sand for us, particularly around major things like planning to open one of the largest school districts in the country.”

Ultimately, CPS students began the 2020-21 school year with all remote learning, and it was only until the spring that a hybrid learning model, combining in-person and remote classes, took effect following negotiations with the Chicago Teachers Union.

But this fall, nearly all CPS students will be learning in-person full-time, a far cry from last year, when only about a quarter of students returned for any in-persosn classes.

Arwady said last August’s decision to start the school year remote was a “conservative” one because “we were still learning a lot about COVID.”

State officials on Tuesday reported 3,639 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19, bringing the average number of new daily cases over the past week to 3,327.

That’s the highest level since the week ending April 15. During the state’s spring surge, the seven-day average of new cases peaked at 3,390 during the week ending April 13.

A week ago, the state was averaging 2,751 daily cases, and a month ago the average was 691 cases per day.

The statewide case positivity rate — the percentage of new cases as a share of total test — reached a seven-day average of 5.4% during the week ending Monday, a level not seen since mid-January, when the massive fall surge was still subsiding,

Gov. Kate Brown knows Oregon needs more PPE to return to business-as-usual  but can't say how much - oregonlive.com

Hospital beds also continue to fill up with COVID-19 patients, with 1,952 hospitalized as of Monday night for an average of 1,727 per day over the past week. That’s the highest level since mid-May.

The latest surge, driven by the highly contagious delta variant, appears to spurring a rise in vaccinations, with the average number of daily doses reaching 39,011 statewide during the week ending Monday. That’s up from an average of 24,965 a week earlier but still well below the more than 100,000 daily shots that were being administered during the height of the vaccination effort in April.

Nearly 61% of eligible Illinois residents have been fully vaccinated, according to the state Department of Public Health.

The state reported 17 additional fatalities Tuesday, pushing the average number of daily deaths over the past week to 14, up from an average of 12 per day a week earlier.

In all, the state has recorded 23,640 coronavirus deaths since the pandemic began according to The Chicago Tribune.

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