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Chicago's Dr. Arwady On Stay At Home Order: 'It's Quite Possible That It Would Be Extended'

CHICAGO (CBS) --  You know her face.

She talks every day about the pandemic Chicago is facing, and  on Friday, she talked about that dire predictions. That Cook County could be next.

The U.S. Surgeon General labels the area a COVID-19 hot spot.

CBS 2's Lauren Victory spoke with Chicago's Public Health Commissioner about the warning.

After the public peppered Chicago's Health Commissioner with questions on social media, it was CBS' turn.

Doctor Allison Arwady didn't flinch at the suggestion that Chicago could be the next New York City, potentially overrun with a sharp rise in COVID-19 cases.

"We've been reaching out in a lot of directions, looking for support, particularly from the federal government to think about mass care, think about what some of this might look like," Arwady said.

On her podcast, Arwady said "we were at McCormick Place, planning out where to put hundreds of thousands of beds."

Although she clued podcast listeners into part of the pandemic plan, Arwady wouldn't specifically guess when the city's surge is coming.

"These next couple of weeks where we're really worried about the increase, if you can just try to keep your contact to your household," Arwady said.

She also wouldn't share Chicago's COVID-19 recovery rate, because it's too early to tell. Hundreds have healed on their own, but she's focused the worst case scenario right now.

"We're thinking about seeing as many as 40,000 hospital admissions for this," Arwady said. "That's in a setting where we don't have very strong adherence to some of the stay at home orders. Yes. we're serious about this."

Chicago's stay at home order goes the extra mile, with lakefront, the Chicago River Walk and 606 Trail now shutdown. But the new hot spot prediction posed the question as to when and if the say at home order would be extended.

"The stay at home order is the most important tool that we have. I think it's quite possible that it would be extended. But again, we're looking every day at what does our data look like now."

Arwady stressed those conversations are on-going and that she doesn't want the public to be surprised if the stay at home order lasts longer.

We're almost 1,200 cases right now just in Chicago. The commissioner said her hopeful projection for the city is 10,000 to 15,000 cases before this is over.

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