Chicago is in Phase Three of its "Protecting Chicago" reopening framework, "Cautiously Reopen," and health leaders say the city is containing the spread of coronavirus.
Top health officials said Friday that Chicago could be closer to possibly moving into Phase Four.
"We are adding on average 232 new cases among Chicagoans and 18 new deaths per day, which is good progress," said Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady.
But with the stay-at-home order lifted, nice weather and large protests in the streets, Dr. Arwady said she's closely watching the data.
"We have not seen an uptick in cases yet but we are monitoring and will watch for 28 days," Dr. Arwady said. "We won't know the full impact of us moving toward reopening or some of the activities for a few weeks."
Dr. Arwady said the city could move into Phase Four by July 1, or sooner. That means gyms, museums and indoor dining, as well as gatherings of up to 50 people.
The city continues to experience a declining number of new COVID-19 cases, with declines seen across racial groups; stable or declining rates of cases resulting in hospitalization, ICU admission, and/or death; and declining emergency department visits for influenza-like illness and/or COVID-19-like illness, officials said. Another important measure, the percent positivity rate, also continues to decline and is now below 10% citywide.
The new goal for percent positivity is less than 7%. And, if percent positivity increases again to over 15% or the city sees a sustained increase in cases and deaths, that may trigger a return to more restrictive policies.
"We're seeing increases in cases in about 20 others states that reopened, so our concern is real," Arwady said. "No single measure will determine whether we move forward or backward but we'll be watching all of them as we make that call."
Dr. Arwady reminded residents that safety is the priority to prevent setbacks.
"There is no such thing as an entirely safe interaction unless you are always able to keep the 6-foot distance, you have a face covering and hand hygiene," she said.
Chicago health officials will also use a new color-coded system to guide the decision:
Currently, the city is in green for all metrics except for testing capacity, which is in yellow as it has seen some disruptions in testing recently. The updated metrics can be found at chicago.gov/city/en/sites/covid-19/home/reopening-chicago.html.
Arwady also unveiled a new data dashboard where residents can explore more granular data about COVID-19 and their communities. It can be found at chi.gov/coviddash.