At a briefing this afternoon, Gov. JB Pritzker said that nearly all of the health care workers who were prioritized to be vaccinated in Phase 1a have been offered the opportunity to be vaccinated. He said the federal effort to vaccinate residents in long-term care facilities is lagging, but continuing. “This meets our criteria to substantially complete Phase 1a,” he said.

“So starting this coming Monday, Jan. 25, the entire State is moving to Phase 1b of our vaccination administration plan, as our very limited allotment allows. This means you will be eligible to get vaccinated if you’re 65 and older, and if you’re a worker who is classified by the CDC as a frontline essential worker, such as a teacher, first responder or grocery employee.”

Gov. Pritzker made clear, though, “there will be far greater demand than supply for at least the near term.” He said the “federal vaccine production was hampered by the failure of the previous administration to properly invoke the Defense Production Act.” He said there are 3.2 million Illinoisans in Phase 1b, and the State is only expecting to receive a total of 120,600  doses of vaccine next week, not counting the vaccines delivered directly to the City of Chicago.

Gov. Pritzker said starting Monday, National Guard sites as well as local health departments and many pharmacies, including Walgreens, CVS and Jewel Osco, will be taking appointments for people in Phase 1b.  He said because of the supply imitations, vaccinations will only be given by appointment.

The City of Evanston is prioritizing the people who fall into Phase 1b, because vaccine supplies are limited and there are thousands of people in Evanston who are eligible to receive the vaccine in Phase 1b. The City said it is currently distributing the vaccines it receives as follows:

         First responders and those 85 years or older (happening now)

         Individuals 75 years and older (tentatively beginning next week depending on the availability of vaccines)

         Individuals 65 years and older

         Residents of congregate care and shelter facilities

         Frontline essential workers, including teachers and daycare workers, public transit employees, grocery store workers, manufacturing workers, and others.

“If larger quantities of vaccine are released to the City, we may provide vaccines to multiple groups at the same time,” said the City in a prepared statement.

Suburban Cook County is on Track to Move From Tier 2 to Tier 1 Tomorrow

“Our statewide positivity is the lowest it’s been since mid-October,” said Gov. Pritzker. “And while COVID-19 hospitalizations are still more than twice what they were this summer, they are now almost half of our fall peak. Enormous sacrifices are being made to achieve this progress. But those sacrifices are truly making a real difference.”

Gov. Pritzker said, “Suburban Cook County and Chicago are on track to move into Tier 1 tomorrow, which would allow for limited reopening of bars and restaurants.”

Other restrictions are loosened up as well in Tier 1. For more information, click here.

The only criteria holding up the move today is a requirement that the test positivity rate be less than 8% for three consecutive days. The most recent data available from IDPH is that Suburban Cook County had a test positivity rate of 7.9% on Jan. 18, and a 7.7% on Jan. 19.

If Suburban Cook County is able to achieve a test positivity rate below 6.5% for three consecutive days (and meet the requirements for hospitalizations and ICU bed capacity), it could move out of the Tier 1 mitigations to those applicable in Phase 4, which would be less restrictive.

Gov. Pritzker said there “new sports guidance, allowing expanded levels of play for youth and adult recreational sports for Regions that reach Phase 4.”

One example provided by Dr. Ngozi Ezike, is “If your Region is in phase four, you can practice and play  basketball games.”

Warnings of a Potential Resurgence

Gov. Pritzker said, “The risk of a resurgence in Illinois, particularly with extremely contagious new variants is serious. Our ability to have limited indoor restaurant service and to restart youth sports could be cut short if we aren’t extremely careful.

“The CDC is already warning that the faster spreading UK variant could become the dominant strain in the United States in March. And a virus that’s more contagious, ultimately results in more cases, more hospitalizations, and more deaths.”

He added that that same CDC report noted that if people “take proven measures to reduce transmission, like mask wearing and ramping up our vaccination rates nationwide, we can tamp down infection rates into the spring even with the UK variant.”


There were 19 new confirmed COVID-19 cases of Evanston residents today.

The average number of new cases per day in the last seven days is 11.3, down from 19.9 on Jan. 15.  For purposes of comparison, on Oct. 12, the seven-day average was 5.6.

Today, the City reported a total of 3,400 tests, with an average of 1,286 test per day in the last seven days. The high number of tests is likely due to testing of Northwestern University students.

There has been a total of 3,504 COVID-19 cases of Evanston residents during the pandemic, 253 of which are active. An accompanying chart shows the trend.


In the last seven days, there was a total of 81 new COVID-19 cases of Evanstonians. That equates to about 105 new cases per 100,000 people in the seven-day period. IDPH’s target to control community spread is 50.

The case positivity rate over the last seven days is 0.9%.

No Evanstonian died due to COVID-19 in the last 24 hours.  The number of deaths due to COVID-19 remains at 104.

Impact of Northwestern University. Northwestern University has posted data on its website reporting that between Jan. 15 and 21, there were 24 new confirmed COVID-19 cases of faculty (3), staff (2), non-undergrad students (9), and undergrad students (10). The number includes those who live outside of Evanston. The City claims it does not know how many of these cases are people who live in Evanston.


 In the State, there were 5,139 new COVID-19 cases reported today. The State reported an additional 1,903 new probable cases, which it characterized as an “artificial catch up.” Because the 1,903 cases were incurred over an extended time, the RoundTable is using the 5,139 number as today’s number.

Statewide, the average number of new cases per day in the last seven days is 4,593. The seven-day average one week ago, on Jan. 15, was 5,929, so today’s number is a decrease of 23%.

Today’s seven-day average is down from an all-time high of 12,380 on Nov. 17. The chart below shows the trend.

In the seven days ending Jan. 20, the number of new cases per 100,000 people in the State was 254.

The seven-day case positivity rate for the State today is 5.0% and the test positivity rate is 6.2%. IDPH’s target to control community spread is 5%.

The charts below show the cases per 100,000 and the test positivity rates for Evanston, Suburban Cook County, Chicago and Illinois.

On a Statewide basis, the number of hospitalizations due to COVID-19 was 3,179 as of midnight on Jan. 21. This is down from an all-time high of 6,171 on Nov. 23.

The number of patients using ICU beds is 661, down from 1,195 on Dec. 1. The number of patients on ventilators is 348, down from 724 on Dec.  1.

On a Statewide basis, there were 95 deaths due to COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, which brings the total to 18,615.

For the last seven days, the numbers of deaths in the State are 130, 29, 50, 107, 123, and 95 today.  The seven-day average is 76.


As of last night, a total of 1,446,375 doses of vaccinations had been delivered to providers in Illinois, including the doses allocated to the federal government’s Pharmacy Partnership Program for long-term care facilities. IDPH reported that a total of 616,677 vaccines have been administered.



Larry Gavin

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...