Officials announced Thursday in suburban Cook County Chicago that they will need proof of vaccination for indoor public spaces such as bars, restaurants and gyms in the new year.
The new mitigation, in conjunction with Chicago’s mandate, begins Jan. 3, at the same time as the city, the Cook County Department of Public Health announced.
«Omicron is located here in the suburban Cook County and it spreads incredibly quickly and easily, so action must be taken to control the spread of CCDPH,» said Dr. Rachel Rubin, CCDPH co-chair and senior medical officer. «We are concerned about how easily the Omigran variant spreads among the population, especially in congested indoor systems. It is important to implement these measures to reduce the risk of contagion.»
The county order, which covers all suburbs except Evanston, Skokie, Oak Park and Stickney — requires evidence of vaccination for clients 5 years of age and older in indoor settings that provide food or beverages, including bars, restaurants, entertainment venues, and gym facilities. Even more so. People 16 years of age and older must show identification that matches their vaccination record.
Fitness centers include places like health clubs, yoga studios, group fitness classes, recreation centers and dance studios, the county said. Entertainment venues include movie theaters, concert halls, live theater and music venues, sports venues, bowling alleys and arcades.
The statewide mask order continues to apply in these locations.
Under the Vaccine Order, businesses are required to show signs of mitigation and develop a «written protocol with details on how to verify vaccine status and enforce this mandate».
«These measures are temporary and we hope they will be effective in the short term,» Dr. Kiran Joshi, CCDPH Co-Chair and Senior Medical Officer, said in a statement. «While not much is known about Omigran, we are aware that our healthcare system is in dire straits.
Cook County has already been urging such businesses to need proof of vaccination under the high-level mitigation recommendation issued last week because the district is struggling with an increase in suspected Omigron cases, officials said.
The first confirmed Omigran variant case in suburban Cook County was reported last week to a fully vaccinated asymptomatic person, although it is unclear whether that person received a booster shot.
Additional cases are expected as officials say there are other cases that are «genetically classified for omigran».
As of Thursday, the county said it was seeing more than 500 new daily cases per 100,000 residents in its suburbs, and the test positive rate was 7.8 percent last week. The ICU capacity will be 10.8 per cent of the beds available, officials said.
In Illinois, the number of Omigron cases rose to 71 on Wednesday from 17 on Monday, according to data from the Illinois Department of Public Health.
At the same time, the state Wednesday crossed several limits, Breaking the 2021 record for daily Govt cases, reporting its two million corona virus case since the outbreak began.
According to the IDPH, there have been 16,581 confirmed and potential Govt cases registered in the state in the last 24 hours, the highest single-day total so far this year.
Of the 17,608 cases registered on November 5, 2020, this is the second highest single-day Govt case count since the outbreak.