Chicago prepares for COVID omicron variant, though no cases have been detected in Illinois yet

The highly contagious COVID omicron variant hasn’t been confirmed here locally, but authorities predict it's days away. 

Chicago is currently averaging over 600 COVID cases a day. The positivity rate is 4.1% The city will now increase its "Vax at Home" program from five to seven days a week. Chicagoans 5 years and older are eligible.

While speaking about the new omicron variant, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said: "It’s coming here and we have to be ready, and the only way to be ready is being vaccinated."

Lightfoot joined by city leaders Sunday once again urging residents to "vax up and boost up". It comes after 1,300 new COVID cases were reported in Chicago on a single day last Monday. That’s the highest daily total since January.

As of Sunday, Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said the omicron variant has already been detected in 16 states.

"We’re not making plans for any large scale pull back within schools or in the city, but we’re monitoring," Arwady said.

On Saturday, six people displaying COVID symptoms were rushed from an assisted living facility in Fox Lake to the emergency room.  At last check, they were listed in stable condition.

Also effective immediately, all extracurricular activities at Oak Park River Forest High School are canceled. Seventeen new COVID cases were reported there last week.

Monday morning, the Chicago Teachers Union will hold a press conference at Carnegie Elementary in Woodlawn.  More than a dozen new COVID cases were confirmed here since Thanksgiving. They say the school has dealt with poor cleaning, improper ventilation and staff shortages for months.