Doctors warn of surge in COVID-19 cases, encourage Chicagoans to get new vaccine this fall

ByJasmine Minor WLS logo
Monday, August 14, 2023
Doctors warn of surge in Chicago COVID-19 cases
Doctors are warning about a surge in Chicago COVID cases and are encouraging people to get the new COVID vaccine in fall 2023.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- COVID-19 cases in Chicago are surging.

Now, doctors want you to be prepared heading into the fall season.

The two doctors ABC7 spoke with said they went months without seeing a COVID patient, with maybe one at the maximum. But, in last few weeks, there's been a strong surge. They said it's not a time to panic, but just a reminder to make good choices.

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"I'd go a whole 12-hour shift without seeing any. And then the last, you know, one to two weeks, we see three, four, five, six COVID-positive cases coming in," said Northwestern Immediate Care Central Region Medical Director Dr. Sindhu Aderson.

Aderson said she was a bit surprised to see that surge before the fall season, but after three-plus years, they're prepared.

"We were anticipating these increases," Aderson said. "We're preparing for them."

According to the most recent data from the Chicago Department of Public Health, the city has seen an average of 72 cases a day within the last week. That's up 4% from the prior week.

"COVID is still here. It's been here throughout," said UI Health Chief Quality Officer Dr. Susan Bleasdale.

It's not the drastic levels the city was seeing in early 2022, when nearly 7,000 Chicagoans were coming down with COVID-19. But, Bleasdale said the surge is a good reminder.

"The community levels go up, and then we start to see the hospitalizations come up afterward," Bleasdale said.

Bleasdale said it's imperative that people take proper precautions by getting the vaccine and being careful around large groups of people if you are older or are immune compromised.

"Masks work really well in helping to prevent transmission and helping to protect you from infection," Bleasdale said.

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Health department data shows that, on average, two to three Chicagoans are dying from COVID-19 each week. It's a very low rate, but still enough to make people aware.

"It's probably not going to go away," Bleasdale said of COVID-19

Both doctors said to expect a new COVID-19 vaccine that should be available at the end of September.