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Mayor Lori Lightfoot Warns City Might Have To Move Back To Phase 3 If COVID Cases Continue To Rise; ‘We Are On The Precipice’

Mayor Lori Lightfoot Warns City Might Have To Move Back To Phase 3 If COVID Cases Continue To Rise; ‘We Are On The Precipice’

by Todd Feurer, CBS Chicago web producerJuly 15, 2020 at 11:25 amFiled Under:Chicago Department of Public HealthChicago ReopeningCoronavirusCOVID-19Dr. Allison ArwadyLori LightfootTracking Coronavirus In Chicagoland

CHICAGO (CBS) — Comparing herself to a mother who won’t simply turn the car around if her kids are acting up, but one who will make them walk home, Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Wednesday warned the city is “dangerously close” to possibly going back to Phase 3 of reopening, following a recent rise in new COVID-19 cases, particularly among young people.

“The last thing I want to do is have to take steps back. I certainly don’t want to be like other places in the country where we’re shutting down commerce and business,” she said. “If we continue to see this uptick in cases, we’re going to have no choice but to go back into Phase 3. That means shutting businesses down. That means imposing more restrictions on your mobility. No one wants to go back there, but we will have to go back there if people continue to ignore the public health guidance.”

Since June 15, nearly 30% of all new virus cases in Chicago are among people between the ages of 18 and 29, the mayor said.

“This should be all the proof that you need. If you are in the 18 to 29-year-old cohort, you are catching COVID-19, you are getting sick, and you’re not only putting yourself at risk,  you’re putting every single person that you come into contact with at risk as well,” she said.

The mayor has repeatedly warned that, if Chicago’s virus numbers take a turn for the worse, she won’t hesitate to reinstate stricter public health requirements.

“Some of you have joked that I’m like the mom who will turn the car around when you’re acting up. No friends, it’s actually worse, I won’t just turn the car around, I’m going to shut it off, I’m going to kick you out, and I’m going to make you walk home. That’s who I am. That’s who I must be for you and everyone else in the city to make sure that we continue to be safe,” she said. “I don’t want to be that person if I don’t have to, but I will if you make me, and right now we are on the precipice. We are dangerously close to going back to a dangerous state of conditions.”

Chicago Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said, while Chicago is averaging fewer than 200 new cases per day, she expects to climb above that threshold soon.

“When we get back above 200, we’re back in a high incident state, and for me, that means we are back in a caution state. It does not equal an automatic rollback,” she said.

However, if and when Chicago does climb back above that threshold, public health officials will look at likely “problem areas,” such as bars, and could order them to close if needed.

Arwady said, if Chicago reaches an average of 400 cases per day, that would be equivalent to the levels seen in states included in the city’s travel quarantine mandate, and would indicate a need to go back to Phase 3 of the reopening plan.

Lightfoot said, while the city’s virus metrics currently are better than most of the rest of the country, “that doesn’t mean that we can ever let our guard down.”

Arwady said, if Chicago reaches an average of 400 cases per day, that would be equivalent to the levels seen in states included in the city’s travel quarantine mandate, and would indicate a need to go back to Phase 3 of the reopening plan.

Lightfoot and Arwady both said it’s not surprising that younger people are going out more as summer has arrived and the city has entered Phase 4 of its reopening plan, but they both stressed that everyone needs to minimize gathering in large groups, and wear a face covering whenever they go out in publ

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