Last Updated 8:09 p.m. July 22, 2021 


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COVID-19 cases are on the rise again in Chicago and throughout Illinois along with every state in the country – with the especially contagious delta variant now spreading.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot has warned some restrictions could return in the event of another surge. Meanwhile, the Chicago Public Schools are requiring masks for everyone, regardless of vaccination status, when the 2021-22 school year begins.

Social Distancing

Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Tuesday warned that the city might be forced to reinstate some COVID-19 restrictions if more people don’t get vaccinated against COVID-19, as the highly contagious delta variant continues to spread nationwide.

“If we allow the virus to continue to linger here in Chicago, we will likely see further mutations, some of which our current vaccines may not be able to protect against, and have to reinforce some of the restrictions that have come to infamously define much of 2020 and part of 2021,” Lightfoot said.

Chicago Department of Public Health Director Dr. Allison Arwady said, while COVID-19 is still reasonably under control in Chicago, that could change if more people don’t get vaccinated, because the delta variant is the most contagious variant of the virus.

Healthcare Status

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COVID-19 infections in Illinois have been gradually rising again in recent weeks, with the state reporting nearly 2,000 new cases on Thursday, the most in more than two months.

The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 1,993 new cases of the virus on Thursday, the highest one-day total since May 7.

Illinois is averaging 1,027 new cases per day over the past week, the first time the seven-day average for new cases has surpassed 1,000 since May 27.

The statewide seven-day average case positivity rate is up to 3%, more than triple the 0.9% case positivity rate reported by the state at the beginning of July.


The Chicago Public Schools announced Thursday that it will be requiring masks indoors for everyone when the 2021-22 school year begins on Aug. 30.

CPS is going with guidance from the American Academy of Pediatrics, which is is recommending everyone in schools wear masks, regardless of vaccination status.

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In accordance with that guidance, everyone will be required to wear masks in CPS schools – including students, educators, support staff, and school visitors – regardless of vaccination status. Face coverings can be removed for recess and some sports activities that are held outdoors.