Chicago area tips into 'high' COVID level

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(WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- The CDC reported Thursday night that the Chicago area -- the city, Cook County and the collar counties -- are now rated at a High Community Level for COVID-19.

People in areas with the high level designation are encouraged to wear masks in indoor public places, among other precaution.

“Everyone should make sure they are up-to-date with vaccinations and booster shots,” said Amaal Tokars, acting director of the Illinois Department of Public Health. “Wearing a mask in indoor public places and avoiding crowded indoor spaces as much as possible will also make a difference.”

The counties listed at High Community Level are Cook, DuPage, Lake, McHenry, Will, Grundy, Boone, Lee and Winnebago in Northern Illinois and Fulton, Knox, Henderson, Mason, Peoria and Tazewell in Central Illinois.

Chicago's top health official said the high level designation would not automatically trigger a new mask mandate but added some COVID metrics are causing concern.

New hospitalizations are slightly up from 24 per day to 28 in the city, Allison Arwady said.

Chicago is averaging less than one COVID death per day, Arwady said, far lower than the pandemic peak of 50 to 60 deaths per day.

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