“Wisconsin has a very poorly controlled outbreak. Indiana has a poorly controlled outbreak,” Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady told reporters today. Iowa, Missouri and parts of downstate Illinois are under less COVID control than Chicago, Arwady said. 

Illinois’ statewide positivity rate has climbed a full percentage point in the past week alone, from 3.5 percent on Oct. 7 to 4.5 percent today. See the latest city and state COVID figures in the charts below.

Chicago is still below its target rate of 5 percent; it’s at 4.4 percent this week, a slight increase from last week’s 4.3. The average daily case count rose 10 percent in the city, up to 364 from 332 last week.

“I expect this number to continue to increase, and in fact, I expect that this number will cross the 400 mark, likely this week,” Arwady said. “That certainly is cause for concern. It’s certainly cause for everybody to double down on the things we know work . . . but the news also needs to be in the context of our testing rates.”

Chicago has the second-lowest positivity rate in the state after the Champaign-Urbana area, which is doing robust testing related to the University of Illinois campus. Hospitalizations and the number of deaths “remain stable” in the city, Arwady said. Fewer than 15 new Chicago residents are admitted to the hospital daily.

The city’s measure of new infections that result from a single case—known as R-naught, or the reproduction number—is 1.013. That suggests a “stable outbreak” locally, Arwady says. The further that number creeps above 1, the more individuals are infected. Being surrounded by states with rising numbers means Chicagoans need to be especially careful, she said.

For Wisconsin and Indiana residents, the order does not apply to people commuting from Wisconsin to Chicago for work or school. Travel for medical care and custody arrangements is also allowed. Commuters are still encouraged to “avoid public spaces as much as possible,” monitor their temperature and signs of symptoms, wear a face covering when in public, maintain social distance, and clean and disinfect workspaces. Read the city’s emergency travel order here.

“Hegewisch has repeatedly been a hot-spot area,” Arwady said of the Far South Side neighborhood, which borders Indiana. The state’s northwest region, bordering Iowa and Wisconsin, has also needed state restrictions. “A lot of that is because there are porous borders here.” 

The order that goes into effect Oct. 16 applies to: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

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