Declining COVID metrics could lead to looser mandates
Health commissioner Allison Arwady this week set specific goals for dropping mask and vaccination mandates through four metrics — COVID-19 cases, positivity, ICU bed use and non-ICU bed use.
Why it matters: This is the first time the city has committed to well-defined reopening metrics.
- And the numbers are easy to find on the city's COVID dashboard, allowing Chicagoans to track our daily progress.
The goal: Arwady says three of the four metrics need to fall into "lower transmission" zones before the city will consider dropping the mandates.
- Only one metric, test positivity, has hit that target so far. The city is at less than 2% positivity.
- Another, ICU bed occupancy for COVID patients, is closer. Chicago has a daily average of 105 and the goal is to be under 100.
Yes, but: The other two metrics are still a stretch.
- Cases: The city is averaging 389 per day with a target of under 200. The last time daily average cases fell below 200 was July 24.
- Non-ICU beds: Chicago is filling an average of 312 beds daily with COVID patients. The goal is under 250, but the last time that happened was mid-November.
The intrigue: While these are the city's official reopening metrics, Arwady left open the possibility of other scenarios.
- For instance, if the state mask mandate falls as expected on Feb. 28, and the metrics are close, she says she might drop Chicago's mandates a few days early.
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