COVID tests show cases rising in Chicago and statewide as vaccination rate stays below 60%

CHICAGO (WLS) -- As the weather gets colder and more people move inside, Innovative Express Care testing facility in Lincoln Park is seeing COVID-19 cases on the rise again.

"We have seen a pretty sharp increase over the past week of positive cases and new diagnosis, over the past few days we have seen a positivity rate of 8 percent," said Innovative Express Care Medical Director Jayme Sibley.

That's a huge jump from just a few weeks ago at this testing center. As holidays approach, cases are trending upward statewide and citywide. According to the Chicago Department of Public Health, the current daily average is 414 cases, up 24 percent from the prior week.

The positivity rate has increased to 2.2 percent and is higher in certain zip codes. Infectious disease experts said based on trends, the rise in cases was expected.

"Last year, our highest peak in the U.S. was around this time after summer towards winter," said Ramon Lorenzo-Redondo of the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

While last fall is likely to remain the highest peak now that vaccines are available, medical experts said until more people get fully vaccinated, the upward case trend may continue through the holidays, especially with more people traveling. The vaccination rate remains just under 60 percent nationwide, in Illinois and Chicago.

"It looks like the countries that have higher percentage of vaccination, there are exceptions, are also responding better to the latest rise," said Lorenzo-Redondo.

Doctors have urged people to continue following the protocols, especially following indoor mask mandates, until the vaccination rates go up, If not, they said, cases are likely to continue going up.
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