Cook County health leaders hold Q&A as omicron continues to surge

COOK COUNTY, Ill. – Cook County Public Health leaders discussed the county’s new mitigation order and answered questions about the current COVID-19 surge.

Dr. Rachel Rubin said in Cook County, they’re seeing between 10,000 and 12,000 new cases diagnosed every single day.

“I think we’re really teetering on the brink right now,” Dr. Rubin said. “The basic point is that we’re trying to keep everybody safe, we’re trying to save lives with this added mitigation.”

Cook County’s new mitigation order requires everyone over the age of 5 show proof of full vaccinations where food or drink are served or fitness activities. There are some new exceptions, including children in sports.

“Those 18 years old or younger that are involved in sports related activities are exempt from that activity because we are expecting them to follow the state’s all sports guidance from the Illinois State Board of Education,” Dr. Rubin said.

When asked about the current tally of omicron cases versus delta cases in the county, Dr. Rubin said since specimens need to be sequenced, there’s a lag in information.

“Right now, there’s very few specimens that are being genotyped,” she said. “But only a very small handful, under 10 percent of the positive specimens are being sent on to be further sequenced, so you actually know what the variant is.”

For those that are not following the county’s vaccine mitigation order, the Department of Public Health has an online form where people can report those businesses.

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