More than 200 Chicagoans being hospitalized with COVID daily, top doc says

After an overwhelming surge in cases of COVID-19, Chicago's top doctor shared promising news on Tuesday – slowly but surely, Omicron is easing.

Dr. Allison Arwady was cautiously optimistic when sharing the news. 

It comes after a month of case records that stretched hospitals thin.

"Being on just the other side of this very high peak is not a sustainable place for us. We need to come down much, much further," said Dr. Allison Arwady, commissioner, Chicago Department of Public Health. 

Hospitalizations and deaths are still much higher than local health experts would like to see. 

More than 200 Chicagoans are being hospitalized with COVID-19 daily, and an average of 20 Chicago residents are dying as a result of the virus each day.

Still, there is some good news on the horizon.

"If you see cases and positivity moving in the same direction, you know it’s a real change," said Arwady. 

Chicago is averaging 4,378 cases per day – down 24 percent from one week ago, according to Arwady.

The positivity rate has also dropped from 19.2 percent last week to 17.4 percent this week. 

Currently, 97 percent of cases in the Midwest region are from the Omicron variant.


"Delta at this point has been, what we call, out-competed by omicron," said Arwady. "Because Omicron is so much more infectious, so much more contagious, it has had the opportunity to spread very, very quickly, and we see it sort of replace Delta."

Arwady said it's possible the Delta variant eventually disappears, like the original strain of COVID, which is now undetected. 

Still, Arwady expects more variants to arise as the virus continues to mutate.

"If the virus itself didn’t change, we could do a pretty good job of predicting what would happen," said Arwady. 

Surrounding counties and states have not yet shown signs of a peak, according to Arwady. 

She urges people to continue masking-up and to get vaccinated if you haven’t already.

In Chicago, 78 percent of eligible residents have gotten at least one vaccine dose. Worldwide, Arwady said 61 percent of the population is now vaccinated.