The number of confirmed cases of Evanston residents having COVID-19 grew to 108 as of 3 p.m. today, April 4, according to information provided by the City of Evanston. This is an increase of 5 cases since yesterday, April 3. The accompanying chart (in the rotating chart box) shows the trend starting on March 26. The first confirmed case of an Evanston resident was reported on March 13.

In the last five days, the increases have been 10, 8, 8, 6, and 5 cases. There is a downward trend.

For Chicago, the COVID-19 cases grew from 3,815 cases yesterday to 4,396 today; the cases grew in Cook County from 6,111 to 7,439, and the cases in Illinois grew from 8,904 to 10,357. A total of 53,581 people in Illinois have been tested for COVID-19. The trends are shown in the second chart in the rotating chart box.

The number of deaths due to COVID-19 are expected to peak in Illinois in the next three to four weeks, according to a study, “Forecasting COVID-19 impact on hospital bed-days, ICU-days, ventilator days and deaths by US state in the next 4 months,”  published by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.

Ike Ogbu, Public Health Director for the City of Evanston, told the RoundTable this afternoon that he and City staff have been in contact on a regular basis with the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) which has been using data provided in the study, which predicts the number of ventilator units and Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds that Illinois will need each day in the next four months to care for patients with COVID-19. The study does not break down need by region of the State.

Mr. Ogbu said each hospital in the State has been reporting their bed capacity to IDPH twice a day, and IDPH has been compiling that information, compiling on a daily basis information about the number of COVID-19 cases in each municipality of the State, and working with other departments in the State to determine whether additional facilities need to be established on a temporary basis to help address the projected surge in COVID-19 cases.

Mr. Ogbu said he and other City staff have been in regular contact with representatives of NorthShore University Health System and AMITA Health St. Francis Hospital. He said the hospitals have said they have sufficient capacity to address the projected number of patients with COVID-19. He said they have been asking patients to defer elective surgery and taking other steps to free up space for the anticipated surge of COVID-19 patients.

He said if NorthShore or AMITA Health are overwhelmed, they may send COVID-19 patients who have less intensive needs to one of four facilities that are being established in the Chicago area. The City is adding 3,000 beds at McCormick Place, with the first 500 beds ready this week. Three hospitals in the Chicago area that were recently closed will be reopened by the end of this month to help with the expected influx: the former Advocate Sherman Hospital in Elgin; MetroSouth Medical Center in Blue Island, and Westlake Hospital in Melrose Park. Another facility may be opened in Central Illinois. Mr. Ogbu said these four facilities are expected to have a total of about 4,000 beds.

Locally, NorthShore University HealthSystem is temporarily converting Glenbrook Hospital, 2100 Pfingsten Road in Glenview, into NorthShore’s fever and respiratory infection hospital where NorthShore will preferentially admit patients with likely Covid-19 infection. As needed, NorthShore will also admit those patents to Evanston Hospital, 2650 Ridge Ave., depending on the volume and capacity at Glenbrook Hospital.

The Evanston RoundTable has established a section in its online newspaper where all articles relating to COVID-19 are collected. The articles may be accessed by clicking on COVID-19 in the top navigation bar. There is a drop-down section that contains articles posted by the RoundTable. The second drop down section is a mini-CDC site that is contains CDC’s updates.

Larry Gavin was a co-founder of the Evanston RoundTable in 1998 and assisted in its conversion to a non-profit in 2021. He has received many journalism awards for his articles on education, housing and...