Gov. JB Pritzker’s Office announced today that in light of a steadily increasing federal vaccine supply, Illinois is making plans to expand Phase 1B eligibility on Feb. 25 to people who have comorbidities and underlying conditions as defined by the CDC. In addition, Illinois will also prioritize individuals with disabilities.

This expansion applies to individuals 16 and older who are not otherwise covered in previous eligibility categories. Illinois will consider the following as qualifying as a high-risk medical condition once Phase 1B expands on Feb. 25:  Cancer, Chronic Kidney Disease, COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), Diabetes, Heart Condition, Immunocompromised State from a Solid Organ Transplant, Obesity, Pregnancy, Pulmonary Disease, and Sickle Cell Disease.

The Pritzker administration will begin working with local health departments and other providers across the State to include these additional higher-risk individuals into their community vaccination plans in the weeks ahead.

The Governor’s Office said it anticipates the vaccine supply to increase, in part, because the FDA is scheduled to meet on Feb. 26 to review the Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine candidate, a one-dose vaccine that does not require extreme cold storage. The Governor’s Office said in a prepared statement that the J & J vaccine “provided 100 percent protection against hospitalization and death in its clinical trial, …  and the company has said it’s on track to deliver 100 million doses to the United States by the end of June.”


There were 17 new confirmed COVID-19 cases of Evanston residents today, up from 15 yesterday.

The average number of new cases per day in the last seven days is 11.6, up slightly from the seven-day average of 9.1 on Feb 3. For purposes of comparison, on Oct. 12, the seven-day average was 5.6.

There has been a total of 3,722 COVID-19 cases of Evanston residents during the pandemic, 259 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 108 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 1.0%.

No Evanstonian has died due to COVID-19 in the last 24 hours. The number of deaths due to COVID-19 remains at 108.   

Today, the City reported a total of 291 tests, with an average of 1,078 tests per day in the last seven days. The high number of tests is likely due to testing of Northwestern University students. The high number of tests of NU students may be pulling down Evanston’s test positivity rate.

Impact of Northwestern University. Northwestern University has posted data on its website reporting that between Feb. 1 and Feb. 7 there were 28 new confirmed COVID-19 cases of faculty, staff and students. 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. [1]


 In the State, there were 2,825 new COVID-19 cases reported today, up from 2,082 yesterday.     

Statewide, the average number of new cases per day in the last seven days is 2,681. This is the 31st day in a row that the seven-day average has declined. The seven-day average one week ago, on Feb. 3, was 3,150, so today’s number is a decrease of 14%.  Today’s seven-day average is down from an all-time high of 12,380 on Nov. 17. An accompanying chart shows the trend.

In the seven days ending Feb. 10, the number of new cases per 100,000 people in the State was 148. IDPH’s target is 50 new weekly cases per 100,000. [2, 3]

The seven-day case positivity rate for the State today is 3.3% and the test positivity rate is 4.0%. IDPH’s target to control community spread is 5%. [4]

An accompanying chart shows that the number of cases per 100,000 people has declined for the week ending Feb. 10 compared to the prior week for Suburban Cook County, Chicago, and Illinois. An accompanying chart also shows their test positivity rates, which are down from one week ago.

On a Statewide basis, the number of hospitalizations due to COVID-19 was 2,082 as of midnight on Feb. 9. This is down from an all-time high of 6,171 on Nov. 23.

The number of patients using ICU beds is 464, down from 1,195 on Dec. 1. The number of patients on ventilators is 232, down from 724 on Dec.  1.

On a Statewide basis, there were 53 deaths due to COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, which brings the total to 19,739.

For the last seven days, the numbers of deaths in the State are 69, 82, 60, 48, 35, 20, and 53 today.  The seven-day average is 52.


A total of 2,152,425 doses of vaccine have been delivered to providers in Illinois, including Chicago and long-term care facilities.  IDPH is currently reporting that a total of 1,480,079 doses of vaccines have been administered.


1/ Northwestern University COVID-19 Cases. Ike C. Ogbo, Director of Evanston’s Health & Human Services Department, told the RoundTable that the COVID-19 cases reported by the City include cases of faculty, staff, and students attending Northwestern University who live in Evanston. The RoundTable asked the City in an FOIA Request to provide the number of NU students who tested positive for COVID-19 and who live in Evanston. The City refused to provide the data. On Oct. 26, the RoundTable appealed the City’s decision to the Public Access Counselor of the Attorney General’s Office. On Nov. 13, the City filed a response claiming it does not have any records showing the number of NU students who tested positive for COVID-19 and who live in Evanston.

The RoundTable has asked Northwestern University on several occasions to provide information breaking out the number of new COVID-19 cases of its faculty, staff and students by residency in Evanston. NU did not respond.

 2/ Number of Cases per 100,000 Population. On July 1, a network of research, policy and public health experts convened by Harvard’s Global Health Institute and Edmond J. Safra Center published a Key Metrics for COVID Suppression framework that provides guidance to policy makers and the public on how to target and suppress COVID-19 more effectively across the nation. The targets for new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people are as follows (these are converted from cases per day to cases per week): a) less than 7 cases: “on track for containment;” b) 7 to 63 cases: “community spread,” rigorous test and trace program advised; c) 70 to 168 cases: “accelerated spread,” stay-at-home orders and/or rigorous test and trace programs advised; and d) 169+: ”tipping point,” stay-at-home orders necessary.  The article is available here:

IDPH provides these categories and ratings: 1) “minimal” – fewer than 50 cases per 100,000 in a week; 2) “moderate” – between 50 and 100 cases per week; and 3) “substantial” more than 100 cases per 100,000 in a week.  In its Metrics for School Determination of Community Spread, IDPH says the “target” is 50 cases per week per 100,000 people.

3/ Calculations. The RoundTable calculates the number of cases per 100,000 using case data provided by IDPH and assuming that the population of Suburban Cook County is 2.469 million, that the population of Chicago is 2.710 million, and that the population of Illinois is 12.671 million.

4/ The Test Positivity Rate. On May 26, Johns Hopkins University & Medicine Coronavirus Resource Center said on its website that “the World Health Organization (WHO) advised governments [on May 15] that before reopening, rates of positivity in testing (i.e., out of all tests conducted, how many came back positive for COVID-19) should remain at 5% or lower for at least 14 days.”  Link:

The Harvard Global Health Institute (HGHI) says, “A network of research, policy, and public health organizations convened by Harvard and MIT called the TTSI Collaborative has agreed on a 3% test positive rate or below as a key indicator of progress towards suppression level testing.”

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...