More COVID Restrictions Could Be Coming

CBS 2's Tara Molina reports there have been big spikes of COVID cases in Cook County and that might lead to the tightening of mitigation efforts.

Video Transcript

IRIKA SARGENT: Tonight, a huge jump in COVID-19 case numbers across Illinois. 3,790 in the past 24 hours. To put that number into perspective, January 29 was the last time we saw numbers that high. Tara Molina is focusing on an alarming trend happening in Cook County. Tara.

TARA MOLINA: Irika, cases are up in seven different Cook County communities, including Norridge. They're up more than 200% today. Local business owners tell me they're worried that increase in cases will mean more restrictions for businesses.

- How can I help you?

TARA MOLINA: Chocolate donuts, Italian pastries, and breads have been drawing Norridge into Allegretti's family-owned bakery since 1962.

- That is raspberry.

TARA MOLINA: The pandemic made business a little less sweet.

ANTHONY ALLEGRETTI: We were very slow.

TARA MOLINA: But Anthony Allegretti told me they're making a comeback now.

ANTHONY ALLEGRETTI: But we're just trying to do our best.

TARA MOLINA: So the news of an uptick in COVID cases here, with 46 cases reported last week in a town with less than 15,000, it's a 204 increase here in Norridge according to Cook County Public Health.

ANTHONY ALLEGRETTI: It's honestly a shock for a small community. I did not know about this.

TARA MOLINA: As for the possibility of increased restrictions for businesses like this one and others--

DR. RACHEL RUBIN: We're inching in that direction.

TARA MOLINA: The leading doctors of the Cook County Public Health Department say with a continued rise in cases, they're not recommending stricter rules yet. But they could if this trend continues. Starting with lowered capacity limits in restaurants and bars.

DR. RACHEL RUBIN: We might go to 40% in those situations. You might decrease occupancy in retail. You might decrease the maximum amount in large events.

TARA MOLINA: With a focus on these areas in red. We've learned in the past two weeks cases are up 200% or more in Norridge, Robbins, Harvey, Glencoe, Riverside, Berkeley and Lynnwood.

DR. RACHEL RUBIN: Be especially vigilant in those communities.

TARA MOLINA: A message from this business--

- All right, you are good to go.

TARA MOLINA: Already taking safety seriously.

ANTHONY ALLEGRETTI: We are going to take more precautions now.

TARA MOLINA: Now Cook County Public Health put a real emphasis on outdoor dining and outdoor activities as the safest way to go right now. Especially in communities like Norridge, like this one, where cases are at an all-time high. Or at a high right now. Irika.

IRIKA SARGENT: OK. So Tara, today doctors also said the same group that's driving the pandemic in Chicago is behind the increase in cases we're seeing across the country.

TARA MOLINA: Irika, there's a close eye right now on the younger population here in Cook County. Specifically, people in their 20s and 30s, people who haven't had widespread access to the vaccine. Doctors are warning that group be especially careful right now.

IRIKA SARGENT: All right, Tara Molina, live for us. Thank you.

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