County Issues New COVID-19 Guidance As Rates Among Young People Surge

Monday, August 3, 2020 || By Community Editor || @maywoodnews 

On Monday, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and the Cook County Department of Public Health (CCDPH) announced that they were issuing new guidance for “bars, fitness clubs, personal care businesses and other gathering places to respond to a new surge in COVID-19 cases in suburban Cook County, particularly among young adults,” according to a statement.

COVID-19 rates among young adults in their 20s are now 2.5 times higher than they were at the end of March, county officials said. In addition, people their 20s now have the highest COVID-19 infecting rate among all age groups.

The news comes as the positivity rate hit 5.8 percent in suburban Cook County, up from 5.2 percent on July 22. Hospitalizations have increased for two consecutive days and, as of July 31, “31 [percent] of ISU beds and 36 [percent] of surge beds remain available, above the 20 [percent] threshold,” the county explained in its statement.

“We get it. It’s summer. Young people are tired of the restrictions,” said President Preckwinkle. “But the virus is still with us. We need to get the word out and encourage young people to be patient. Physical distancing and wearing a mask is the minimum we need people to do to protect themselves and their friends and family.”

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“If we don’t remain vigilant, we will face far more restrictive mitigation efforts and we will see more disease and more death. We are encouraging everyone to follow the ongoing guidelines and businesses to immediately adopt our recommendations, so that they don’t become requirements,” said Dr. Rachel Rubin, Cook County Department of Public Health Co-Lead and Senior Medical Officer.

The new measures, as presented in the county’s statement are below:

  • Bars, taverns, breweries and other establishments that serve alcohol for on-site consumption without a retail food license are being asked to serve customers outdoors only.
  • Restaurants that serve alcohol need to continue to abide by ongoing COVID-19 guidance and existing regulations.
  • Maximum party size and table occupancy at restaurants, bars, taverns, and breweries should be reduced to 6 people (indoor or outdoor).
  • Indoor fitness class size should be reduced to a maximum of 10 people.
  • Personal service businesses should discontinue services (shaves, facials) that require the removal of face coverings.
  • Residential property managers should limit guest entry to 6 people per unit to avoid indoor gatherings and parties.

In addition, businesses and workplaces should:

  • Institute remote work for high-risk individuals and continue to support telework for as many workers as possible.
  • Retail establishments should maintain no more than 50% capacity, which is the current recommendation.

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