• Tracking the variant

Live updates: Omicron Variant in Chicago

Chicago’s top doc answers COVID-19 testing questions

Allison Arwady
Chicago Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwardy joined Mayor Lori Lightfoot for a press conference on Thursday, Feb. 4 , 2021. Manuel Martinez / WBEZ

As COVID-19 cases climb in Chicago, the city’s public health commissioner continues to push vaccination and boosters as the most effective protection. And she’s offering some guidance to people taking multiple tests for the virus.

Dr. Allison Arwady said Tuesday she’s received many questions from people who are using both antigen and PCR tests. She advises them to take the cautious route if one result comes back positive.

“When you’re seeing differences between different kinds of tests, most of the difference there is depending on when in the infection you are testing,” Arwady said.

She added that “no matter what kind of test you are taking, I want you to consider any positive COVID test [result] … to be a positive COVID test.”

As of Tuesday, Chicago’s daily average of new cases was 4,772. That’s up 12% compared with the prior week. The city did not issue its weekly travel advisory Tuesday because the holiday weekend delayed nationwide data.

Arwady said her focus of attention right now is Chicagoans who have not been vaccinated or infected with the virus.

“My biggest concern [is] those folks with no protection at all,” she said. “My next level of concern is people who had COVID in the past and are trying to think that’s gonna carry them through, but [they] aren’t vaccinated.”