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Chicago Public Health Commissioner Allison Arwardy tests positive for COVID-19

The woman who has led Chicago through the pandemic has tested positive for COVID-19.

Public Health Commissioner Allison Arwady announced the diagnosis on Twitter Thursday morning.

“Last night, for the first time in the pandemic, I tested positive for COVID-19. I am experiencing some cold-like symptoms and fever but am otherwise well, which I credit to the fact that I’m fully vaccinated and boosted. I will continue to work from home while following the CDC guidelines for isolation,” Arwady said in a statement.

“I want to remind all Chicagoans to get up-to-date on COVID-19 vaccines, which have proven to be incredibly effective at protecting against severe outcomes from the virus. We have made great progress against COVID-19, and I thank everyone who has made the decision to get vaccinated to protect themselves and their communities. But the virus is still out there and we have more work to do to put this pandemic behind us.”

Arwady reported the positive test one minute after continuing her ongoing Twitter campaign to promote vaccination.

“Vaccines continue to offer excellent protection from severe outcomes related to COVID-19. I encourage you to make sure you’re up-to-date on yours,” the commissioner wrote in the earlier tweet.

“Need help finding your COVID-19 vaccine? Visit or stop by one of CDPH’s clinics this weekend at Daley and Wright Colleges.

For two years, Arwady has been a calm and reassuring presence in leading Chicago through the darkest days of a pandemic that has seen Black and Hispanic residents bear the brunt of the disease.

She joined Mayor Lori Lightfoot in sounding the alarm about the racial gap and in coordinating so-called rapid response teams to bridge the divide.

Arwady also held daily Facebook Live sessions to take questions in the early months of the crisis, a forum she’s continued on a weekly basis as the pandemic drags on.

The City Council initially delayed confirmation of her appointment because she did not support re-opening mental health clinics famously closed by former Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Prior to joining the health department — initially as chief medical officer — she worked for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as an epidemic intelligence officer. In that role, she guided “outbreak response” and worked around the world on Ebola and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, according to her official bio.

A few weeks ago, Lightfoot introduced Arwady before the City Club of Chicago and got choked up in talking about how much their pandemic partnership has meant to the mayor and how she could never have made it through the ordeal without her trusted health commissioner at her side.

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