Vaccinations key driver
With summer in full swing, community life in Oak Park is steadily returning to normal as thousands of residents quickly stepped up to get vaccinated, helping send the number of new positive COVID-19 cases dramatically downward.
Capacity limits and most restrictions that had been in place for more than a year to help limit the spread of COVID-19 were lifted in June, essentially reopening the community for those who are vaccinated and no longer likely to contract or spread the highly contagious virus.
The risks of COVID-19 remain real for those who have not chosen to take advantage of easy access to the vaccine, a choice many public health officials find baffling given the vaccines’ proven effectiveness against the virus and its more contagious variants.
A vaccine has not yet been approved for those under 12 years old, which officials say lends urgency to the call for all eligible adults to get vaccinated as soon as possible to shield the vulnerable youth who have no medical protection choice.
Local public health officials continue to recommend that children under 12 and anyone not vaccinated remain masked indoors beyond their own households and in crowded outdoor settings.
Everyone, regardless of vaccination status, still is required to be masked in nursing homes, long-term care facilities, shelters, congregate settings and in Village municipal buildings, as well as on planes, buses, trains and other forms of public transportation, including stations and hubs.
Should a surge in COVID-19 cases lead to more hospital admissions or more deaths, Oak Park and the rest of the region could revert to a previous phase, officials caution, adding that as vaccination rates climb, so does the likelihood that all restrictions can be lifted permanently.
For more information about Oak Park’s COVID-19 response, visit www.oak-park.us/covid19.