CHICAGO (CBS) — Illinois saw another 1,700 new COVID-19 cases Thursday, along with 24 new confirmed deaths. Many of those cases are in the St. Louis region, where the positivity rate is now 10%. That’s up from 4.8% last week.
Another big concern for Chicago Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady is the upcoming flu season.
Arwady has previously said if Chicago hits 400 cases a day there could be rollbacks in what is open. Right now the average is above 350 and ticking up.
“We continue day after day, week after week, just seeing this slight increase in cases,” she said. “It’s not been a dramatic rise like we were seeing back in March and April, but it has continued to rise. We’ve been seeing it go up about 5% a week, give or take. That could leave us just a few weeks away if we’re not able to see these numbers turn around.”
The coronavirus shares many of the same symptoms as the flu, but with flu season right around the corner there is a test that can potentially detect both.
“Every year we have a huge healthcare surge related to influenza, so right now is the time for people to start getting their flu vaccine” Arwady said. “We don’t know what it will look like to have people co-infected with influenza and COVID-19, but we do know the flu vaccine is one of the very best ways to help preserve our healthcare resources for anybody who needs it. We’ve had rapid flu testing for years, and we’re increasingly seeing the COVID testing being added on to some of those same platforms that we’ve seen for rapid flu. There’s been some new approvals for some quicker tests just in the last few days, and I think increasingly as we move into flu season we will need to be testing people for both COVID and flu.”
Arwady says now is the time for preventive care to help prevent overwhelming of doctors offices and urgent cares during flu season.