By The Associated Press

CHICAGO (AP) — Chicago’s surging cases of the highly transmissible COVID-19 omicron variant has prompted City Colleges of Chicago to cancel a Kwanzaa celebration planned for this week at Malcom X College.

Wednesday’s start of the celebration toasting African-American heritage was canceled “due to the new COVID variant and out of an abundance of caution,” City Colleges spokeswoman Veronica Resa said Monday in a statement.

The Kwanzaa event’s cancellation comes as the omicron variant of the coronavirus has rapidly spread throughout the country, spurring officials to impose new restrictions and regulations in an attempt to combat its spread, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

Those include the city and Cook County requiring patrons of gyms, bars and restaurants to show proof of vaccination with a valid ID.

Cases of coronavirus in the city are up 129% over the previous week, according to the most recent data available from the Chicago Department of Public Health. That’s over 2,500 new cases daily on average with a positivity rate of 9.2%.

The canceled Kwanzaa celebration would have featured a procession and drum call, live performances and shopping. The free event would have included performances by Najwa Dance Corps, Dee Alexander and the A Team, Armen Rah, Ugochi and the Muntu Dance Theatre.