Getting your Evanston news from Facebook? Try the Evanston RoundTable’s free daily and weekend email newsletters – sign up now!

The number of Evanston residents who have tested positive for COVID-19 increased by 11 cases today to a total of 186 cases, according to information provided by the City of Evanston. The trend is shown in the above chart. 

To date, a total of five Evanstonians have died due to COVID-19.    

For Chicago, the COVID-19 cases grew from 9,084 yesterday to 9,616 today; the cases in Cook County grew from 15,474 yesterday to 16,323 today; and the cases in Illinois grew from 22,025 to 23,247. A total of 110,616 people in Illinois have been tested for COVID-19. The trend is shown in the chart box.

A total of 794 residents of Illinois have died due to COVID-19.

The second chart in the chart box shows the number of new COVID-19 cases reported in Illinois each day starting on April 1. The chart reflects a buildup in the total number of cases between April 1 and April 4, then a drop on April 5, followed by a steady buildup through April 8, and fluctuations after that. 

The cases between April 5 and 9 increased on an average of 9.6% each day over the total on the previous day. The average percentage increase between April 10 and 14 is 7.1%.

The five-day average is decreasing.

As summarized in more detail in prior articles, the COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately impacted black people throughout the nation and the impact in Chicago and Illinois is disproportionate as well. Evanston has not provided demographic information.

In addition, as summarized in more detail in prior articles, deaths due to COVID-19 are primarily impacting older people. The death rate of older people is also much higher than younger people in Illinois.

Some Other Metrics

At the briefing this afternoon, Governor J.B. Pritzker provided other statistics that he said showed Illinois is on the right track.

He said one statistic they watch is the “doubling rate,” or the number of days it takes to double the number of COVID cases or deaths. The longer it takes to double the number of COVID cases or deaths, the better the trends.

At the beginning of the pandemic, Gov. Pritzker said, the number of COVID cases in Illinois was doubling every 2 days. On April 1, the cases were doubling every 3.6 days. On April 12, cases were doubling every 8.2 days.

On April 1, the number of deaths was doubling every 2.5 days. Now, the number of deaths is doubling every 4.5 days.

The fact that it takes more days to double the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths “is a clear demonstration that there is a deceleration of virus transmission,” said Gov. Pritzker. “We are in fact bending the curve.”

He also provided data regarding the number of hospitalizations. He said if a person is hospitalized with a respiratory illness, they view it as a hospitalization due to COVID-19, whether or not a patient has been tested. The number of hospitalization due to COVID-19 using this definition is as follows

April 6 – 3,680

April 10 – 4,020

April 11 – 4,104

April 12 – 4,091

April 13 – 4,283

“The numbers are increasing,” said Gov. Pritzker, “but so is hospital capacity.”

In August 2019, the State had about 25,500 hospital beds. Now there are about 30,000 beds.

In addition, he said, COVID-19 patients are using fewer Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds now than a week ago. One week ago, COVID-19 patients were using 43% of ICU beds in the State, now it is down to 40%. Similarly COVID-19 patients were using 29% of the ventilators a week ago, the percentage dropped to 25% today.

He added that the State has an additional 3,000 ventilators across the State.

The Illinois Department of Public Health tracks each hospital‘s utilization of beds and its bed capacity on a daily basis, and it also track the same data for all hospitals in defined regions of the State. “Today, no region is below 15% of availability in any of these metrics,” said Gov. Pritzker, even though some individual hospitals may have reached maximum capacity.

“Right now, hospitals, by-and-large, are doing a great job of directing patients amongst themselves. If it becomes necessary, I will not hesitate to step in and direct ICU patients to hospitals that are more available.”

Opening up The Economy

“There is no one who wants our State to open up more than I do,” said Gov. Pritzker. “I want kids to go back to school. I want parents to go back to work. I want families to enjoy our parks and lakefronts. I want small businesses thriving, restaurants flooded with reservations, job growth to return to their record highs.

“But no matter what the President may say, I will do what’s best to safeguard the health and safety of Illinois residents.”

He added that he has been talking to governors on the east and west coasts. “Our goal is to determine what are the pre-conditions to allow certain kinds of businesses to open again.

“The preconditions that I think are appropriate, that I’ve talked about a lot, are testing, tracing and treating. I would add to that the availability of PPE [personal protective equipment] to the entire population. These things together, I think are the preconditions.

“Right now … we don’t have the testing, tracing and treating that we need.”

He added that he was hopeful that the President would help increase the State’s capacity in each of these areas – “because that’s what will make it safer for people to begin to return to their normal lives.”

In  conclusion, he said, “The most important thing we can do right  now is stay at home and keep the infection rate down, make sure that the hospitalizations do not get overloaded, and begin to plan for the day when a treatment is available.”