Top doctor in town says schools stay safe despite COVID surge | Chicago News

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Debates over in-person learning continue as youth hospitalization rates climb to an average of about seven a day — the highest during the pandemic, according to data from the Chicago Department of Public Health.

CDPH commissioner Dr Allison Arwady said it is still rare for children to get COVID-19 and that hospitalization rate is similar to a flu year.

“I don’t want to shed light on the fact that there are children in hospital, but only 15% of children in Chicago hospitals today have COVID-19 and the remaining 85% have other illnesses” , said Arwady. “We don’t disrupt the school, we don’t stop for the flu.”

The city’s COVID-19 test positivity rate is 23.6% — the highest since the first wave of the pandemic peaked in Chicago in April 2020, according to CDPH data.

Despite the high positivity rate, Arwady said she believed students were safe in the classrooms. She said being in schools is not a risk factor for staff or students to have an increased risk of COVID-19.

“It really worries me that we’re pretending to be February 2020, the start of all this,” Arwady said.

Amid concerns over the current outbreak and the return to class after the holidays, Chicago Teachers Union officials have asked the district to increase regular testing, provide masks for all students and staff, provide a “major increase” in school vaccinations and requiring those who have had COVID-19 to test negative before returning to school.


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