Last Updated 11:17 p.m. January 13, 2021 

Overview

COVID cases and hospitalizations were down slightly in Chicago this week, but the city’s top doctor still advised people not to travel throughout the United States. The city’s stay-at-home advisory was extended this week to Friday, Jan. 22, but in-person classes resumed for some Chicago Public Schools students despite objections from the Chicago Teachers Union.

Social Distancing 

A stay-at-home advisory for the city of Chicago was extended this week to Friday, Jan. 22. The order said the city of Chicago “continues to experience a sustained level of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, which left unchecked poses a risk to our healthcare system,” and, “Continued intervention is warranted to moderate case growth and preserve hospital capacity.”

Meanwhile, Dr. Allison Arwady, head of the Chicago Department of Public Health, advised people not to travel throughout the United States.

Arwady said the city’s travel zone grid showing what states have elevated numbers of COVID cases has gone from a three color system — with red, orange and yellow zones — to now a two-tier system with orange and yellow zones, which as of Tuesday has most of the United States in the orange zone. Only Hawaii is doing well with containing the number of coronavirus cases, putting it in the yellow zone.

There were also renewed calls this week to relax the indoor dining ban in Illinois, which has prohibited patrons from eating inside restaurants since the end of October. But the State of Illinois said they will not let up until the coronavirus positivity rate goes down.

CBS 2 Investigator Megan Hickey this week looked into whether the ban has actually led to fewer COVID-19 infections.

Healthcare Status

Gov. JB Pritzker this week said everyone in Illinois should have the vaccine by the end of the year, and he envisions large vaccine sites and perhaps the U.S. Army and National Guard could lead distribution efforts.

Some health care workers are fearful and they are not getting the vaccine. Governor Pritzker doesn’t want the doses wasted, so he’s urging health care providers to give the shots to other essential workers now.

Illinois’ Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike indicated it’s a race against time. There are concerns that a variant of the coronavirus first seen in the United Kingdom is now likely in Illinois, circulating in low numbers. It’s one of several strains of the virus that is even more contagious.

Schools

Monday, Jan. 11 brought a controversial return to the classroom for some Chicago Public Schools students. It was the first day of in-person learning since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic for pre-kindergarten and some special education students.

The Chicago Teachers Union does not believe the move is safe, and some teachers decided not to come in.