Day cares, factories, offices, events: Where COVID-19 outbreaks are happening now
Suburban COVID-19 outbreaks in the last 30 days centered around a day care, a mental health facility, a medical clinic and a sports team, Illinois Department of Public Health data showed Tuesday.
Six COVID-19 outbreaks, defined as "five or more cases linked to a common location," occurred between March 24 and Friday in suburban Cook and the collar counties.
The outbreaks paint a picture of who's getting COVID-19 now. Such glimpses come as access to vaccination expands for those age 16 and up but not yet to younger children.
Outbreaks in the past month occurred at a day care in the health region that includes DuPage and Kane counties, a preschool in Kendall/Will, a medical clinic or dental office in Kendall/Will, a behavioral or mental health facility in DuPage/Kane, a group home in Lake/McHenry and a sports team in suburban Cook County.
In comparison, the top four virus hot spots in Illinois are factories, accounting for 14% of all outbreaks; day cares, at 11%; and offices and community events, at 8.6% each.
School outbreaks are tracked separately.
With day cares, "you can imagine how tough it is to keep a mask on a child under the age of 6," said Dr. Kevin Most, chief medical officer for Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital.
"They don't like it, it's not comfortable, they're outside and playing, and kids interact. They wrestle and tussle and they're close to each other. It's another reason parents should consider getting vaccinated if they're hesitant."
Regarding office outbreaks, this spring "we're seeing more companies bringing people back to the work site," Most said. "Many work sites were not built to be COVID-appropriate. They're cubes that are close to each other," with crowded break rooms.
More than 30% of all Illinois residents have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, the IDPH recorded.
Also Tuesday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control said it's safe for everyone to not wear face masks outdoors when walking or biking with members of their household or when gathering with a small group of fully vaccinated family and friends. Pritzker said the state will follow suit.
However, the CDC warns people who are not fully vaccinated to wear masks while outdoors at small gatherings with unvaccinated individuals and while gathering outside with friends from multiple households. Fully vaccinated people may leave their masks off in those situations.
The agency also advises everyone to wear masks at crowded outdoor events such as live performances, and indoors in public spaces such as buses and trains or in movie theaters.
The change indicates "how well we all are protected now when you're fully vaccinated," Most said. "There have been enough people vaccinated now with enough of a track record to show that the breakthrough cases are extremely low. We're seeing you're very well protected 14 days after your (final) shot."
Chicago will be developing a "Vax Pass," Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Allison Arwady said Tuesday.
"If you get a vaccine, you'll be able to get into a concert or event," Arwady said. "We're thinking about younger people and how we can make getting vaccinated something people are getting excited about. There's a lot of vaccine planning for summer events."
Cases below average
New cases of COVID-19 reached 2,556, slightly lower than the seven-day average of 2,704 Tuesday, the IDPH reported. Twenty-three more people died from the respiratory disease, with two of them in their 30s, officials said.
On Monday, 81,152 more COVID-19 shots were administered. The seven-day average is 105,757.
The federal government has delivered 11,149,675 doses of vaccine to Illinois since distribution began in mid-December and 8,942,127 shots have been administered.
So far, 3,835,491 people -- 30.1% of Illinois' 12.7 million population -- have been fully vaccinated. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two doses several weeks apart.
Illinois hospitals were treating 2,180 COVID-19 patients Monday night, the 15th day that patient numbers exceeded 2,000.
The state's seven-day average positivity rate is 3.5%.
Total cases statewide stand at 1,325,726 and 21,858 Illinoisans have died since the pandemic began.
Labs processed 62,724 virus tests in the last 24 hours.