There are signs that the latest COVID-19 surge is slowing according to the most recent data provided by the Cook County Department of Public Health (CCDPH).
As of Jan. 11, the last time data was published before the Review went to print, the rolling seven-day average of new COVID cases in the area covered by the CCPDH — most of Cook County but not Chicago, Oak Park or a handful of other municipalities — dipped below 3,000 per day for the first time since Dec. 20. But the average of 2,964 new cases was still higher than the previous peak of the pandemic in November 2020.
Other indicators continue to indicate high transmission in the community, including a 19% test positivity rate, and an increasing number of total cases and deaths. As of Jan. 14, more than 435,000 people in the CCDPH footprint had tested positive for COVID-19 and more that 5,500 people had died.
In Forest Park, the fast-spreading omicron variant is still running rampant but, like countywide, is starting to slow ever so slightly. The CCDPH does not publish precise case data by village but a graph indicating viral spread has started to tip to a more horizontal plane after several weeks of an almost vertical climb to previously unprecedented levels.
But the impacts of the omicron surge are still being felt here and, in an increasing number of instances, costing Forest Parkers their lives.
There have now been 2,332 confirmed cases of COVID-19 among Forest Park residents since the start of the pandemic in March 2020, but a whopping 847 of those cases (36.3%) have come since the start of November.
The Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office also reported that a 38th Forest Park resident died from COVID-19 on Jan. 13. Of the 38 deaths, seven have been recorded since Dec. 14.
Forest Park residents do tend to be well-vaccinated, at least relative to the communities that are monitored by the CCDPH, with 85.8% of Forest Parkers having received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 63.9% with a “complete vaccine series.” Countywide, those numbers are 80.9% and 61.1%, respectively.
The COVID-19 vaccines remain a safe and effective way to protect against the vrus. Unvaccinated individuals are at much greater risk both for COVID-19 infection and for developing serious medical complications as a result of the virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.