Coronavirus In Chicago: Health Officials Ask Those Who Attended Protests, Large Gatherings To Self-Quarantine

CDPH Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady
Photo credit City of Chicago

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- The Chicago Department of Public Health is asking those out amid protests or other large gatherings across Chicago over the weekend to self-quarantine if they were not able to maintain social distancing.

"I am concerned that this weekend — not just related to the protests, but related to a lot of people gathering in Chicago for a lot of reasons — we may see ourselves take a step backwards down the line against COVID here in Chicago," said CDPH Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady. "And that's because COVID-19 is caused by a virus, and that virus does not care what else is going on in the city. And nothing has changed, unfortunately, related to COVID-19. We still do not have a treatment. We still do not have a cure. We do not have a vaccine. COVID-19 still takes every opportunity it can to spread."

Dr. Arwady said the city is still seeing hundreds of new cases of COVID-19 each day.

"And we're seeing that particularly in settings where people are unable to keep a six-foot distance or unable to wear the face coverings that serve some protection for yourself, but importantly, help protect others. If you've been in any kind of gathering this weekend, whether it's protest-related, whether it's socially related, whether you've understandably reached out for contact at this time that has been so difficult for Chicago and the country, I do want to let you know that you are at increased risk for having contracted COVID-19," Dr. Awardy said.

She asks that people who have been in groups — especially if they were not able to keep that six-foot distance and wear the face covering — to self-quarantine for the next 14 days. Dr. Arwady said that is because it takes up to 14 days from a time when you were potentially infected with COVID for the disease to show itself.

If you develop symptoms, Dr. Arwady advises you stay home and get tested. She also said to stay away from people who are high risk, like those who are 60+ or have underlying health conditions.

"We need everyone, now more than ever, to please practice the public health guidance, even during this time where it is not the top thing on everyone's mind. If you are out, keep that six-foot physical distance, wear that cloth face covering, keep using hand hygiene, and if you are sick, even a little bit sick, or you've been in close contact with anyone who has COVID, we need you to stay home. Get testing if you have any concern that you might have been exposed to COVID, and please continue to stay safe as we look ahead to rebuilding Chicago," Dr. Arwady said.

Mayor Lightfoot said she asked Dr. Arwady to attend Monday morning's press conference to speak to the other danger that Chicagoans cannot lose sight of, and that is, "the fact of what we have seen over these last few days is people abandoning the very public health guidance, social distancing, staying home, that we have taken and made progress during the midst of this pandemic. I have said this before, and I will say it again: COVID-19 has not disappeared from Chicago. It is very much our present.

"And we worry about the thousands of people that have been out in the streets over the last few days. Please, in exercising your First Amendment rights or if you were out for any other reason, you have now put yourself at risk. And we need you to isolate yourself. We need you to think about and be conscious of whether or not you are experiencing any signs or symptoms of COVID-19. God forbid that we see a spike that overwhelms our healthcare resources, just as we saw light at the end of the tunnel. But we need now to be careful and take precautions."

The city of Chicago is scheduled to move into Phase 3 of its reopening plan on Wednesday.