• Tracking the variant

Live updates: Omicron Variant in Chicago

Chicago’s top doc answers COVID-19 questions

Dr. Allison Arwady, the Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner speaks to the public, as numbers of positive COVID-19 cases increase, at City Hall on January 4, 2022. Manuel Martinez / WBEZ

Chicago’s COVID-19 cases peaked in the beginning of January and have been going down ever since.

Public Health Commissioner Allison Arwady said Thursday she continues to see improvement in the omicron surge among Chicago residents.

“We’re averaging 1,626 cases a day. That still remains very high, but consistent with what we’ve been seeing. It’s down 49% from where it was a week ago,” Arwady said. “Hospitalizations are also coming down, but don’t make the mistake of thinking that this is done.”

Arwady added that more Chicago residents are being hospitalized with COVID-19 now than at any point since May 2020.

In Chicago, the latest daily average of hospitalizations is 148, which is mostly unvaccinated individuals.

“We are averaging 21 deaths a day, still high,” Arwady said. “When this was in very good control last summer we were seeing three deaths a day. Three deaths a day is 1,000 deaths a year from COVID. So this remains a really dangerous illness.”

Arwady said unvaccinated Chicagoans are five times more likely to be hospitalized than unvaccinated residents.