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Evanston residents recently diagnosed with COVID-19 are younger than those in earlier periods of the pandemic. The pandemic continues to affect inordinately Black and Hispanic people. This is the conclusion of a RoundTable analysis of demographic data released by the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH).
Over the past four weeks, 60% of new COVID-19 cases reported in Evanston were under the age of 40, compared with 33% from March through July 20. Early in the period, the pandemic disproportionately affected older age groups, as COVID-19 spread undetected in congregate care settings.
For example, Evanston nursing home residents and staff accounted for 38% of total cases and 75% of fatalities from March through July 20.
A quarter of all COVID-19 cases were among residents over the age of 70 in the period through July 20. In the most recent 4 week period studied (July 20 through Aug. 17), only 10% of cases fell in these oldest age groups.
This demographic shift is reflected in the percentage of COVID-19 tests that are positive (% positive test rate). Residents under the age of 40 now have the highest % positive test rates, ranging from 1.9% (for 20 to 29 year olds) to 2.2% (for 30 to 39 year olds), in the latest four-week period. This is double the rates for 70 to 79 year-olds and residents over the age of 80 (1.2% and 1.0%). Percent positive test rates have fallen among all age groups, with the most significant declines among the most elderly residents.
COVID-19 disproportionately affects Evanston Black and Hispanic residents.
Black residents account for 28% of COVID-19 cases reported in Evanston through Aug. 17; Hispanics residents account for 18% of cases. Both groups are over-represented among COVID-19 cases compared to their population size in Evanston.
For example, 12% of residents testing positive did not identify a race or ethnicity. Re-basing the percentages proportionally (by eliminating the “Blank” category), Black residents represent 32% of COVID-19 cases, but less than 20% of Evanston residents. Hispanic residents represent 21% of COVID-19 cases in Evanston, but only 12% of Evanston residents.
This higher proportion of COVID-19 cases among Black and Hispanic residents is increasing, with higher shares of cases reported in the last four weeks compared with the March through July 20 period.
Black and Hispanic residents are testing positive to COVID-19 three to four times more than the Evanston average. Percent positive test rates in the last four weeks were 8.7% for Hispanics, 5.1% for Black residents, 1.5% for white residents and 1.6% for all residents.