On Feb. 10, Gov. JB Pritzker announced that in light of a steadily increasing federal vaccine supply, Illinois was making plans to expand Phase 1b eligibility on Feb. 25 to people who have comorbidities and underlying conditions as defined by the CDC.
Last evening the City of Evanston said, “Due to the large number of individuals 65 years and older in Evanston who are currently eligible for vaccines as part of Phase 1b, and the limited supply of vaccines available to date, the City does not anticipate being able to expand Phase 1b to include these individuals on February 25.”
The City of Chicago and Cook County issued similar statements.
This coming week, the City plans to begin vaccinations of people 73 years and older. Assuming that the supply of vaccine will increase in the next few weeks, the City is also preparing to distribute a portion of doses it receives to educators, prioritizing those who are or will be doing in-person teaching, beginning with the oldest educators first. The City will also continue to administer a portion of vaccines it receives on-site to individuals in congregate settings.
The City said if people are currently eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine as part of Phase 1b, they may register (or try to) with their pharmacy, employer or other trusted source. This may give people a chance to get a vaccine at an earlier date. The State announced yesterday that it is partnering with CVS, Hy-Vee, Jewel-Osco, Kroger, Mariano’s, Meijer, Walgreens, and Walmart pharmacies to provide COVID-19 vaccinations.
The CDC issued new guidelines today for reopening schools. The agency said schools can reopen safely if they follow a set of layered precautions. CDC said five things are essential: wearing masks, maintaining at least six-feet of distance from others, hand-washing, regularly cleaning the facilities, and contact tracing if an infection occurs. CDC recommends vaccinating teachers, but adds it is not a prerequisite to opening schools.
CDC recommends that schools should monitor the total number of new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people in the prior week, and also monitor the test positivity rate. It has identified benchmarks that indicate various levels of risk of community spread.
There were 9 new confirmed COVID-19 cases of Evanston residents today, down from 17 yesterday.
The average number of new cases per day in the last seven days is 12.6, up from the seven-day average of 9.4 on Feb. 5. For purposes of comparison, on Oct. 12, the seven-day average was 5.6.
There has been a total of 3,748 COVID-19 cases of Evanston residents during the pandemic, 266 of which are active. An accompanying chart shows the trend.
In the last seven days, there was a total of 88 new COVID-19 cases of Evanstonians. That equates to about 117 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 1.1%.
No Evanstonian died due to COVID-19 in the last 24 hours. The number of deaths due to COVID-19 remains at 110.
Today, the City reported a total of 3,800 tests, with an average of 1,159 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 is likely pulling down Evanston’s test positivity rate.
Impact of Northwestern University. Northwestern University has posted data on its website reporting that between Feb. 4 and Feb. 11 there were 25 new confirmed COVID-19 cases of faculty (2f), staff (3), non-undergrad students (1), and undergrad students (19). 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 2,598 new COVID-19 cases reported today, down from 2,838 yesterday.
Statewide, the average number of new cases per day in the last seven days is 2,459. This is the 33rd day in a row that the seven-day average has declined. The seven-day average one week ago, on Feb. 5, was 2956, so today’s number is a decrease of 17%.
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. 12, the number of new cases per 100,000 people in the State was 136. IDPH’s target is 50 new weekly cases per 100,000. [2, 3]
The seven-day case positivity rate for the State today is 3.1% and the test positivity rate is 3.7%. IDPH’s target to control community spread is 5%. 
An accompanying chart shows that the number of cases per 100,000 people has declined for the week ending Feb. 12 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 1,915 as of midnight on Feb. 11. This is down from an all-time high of 6,171 on Nov. 23.
The number of patients using ICU beds is 437, down from 1,195 on Dec. 1. The number of patients on ventilators is 211, down from 724 on Dec. 1.
On a Statewide basis, there were 32 deaths due to COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, which brings the total to 19,873.
For the last seven days, the numbers of deaths in the State are 60, 48, 35, 20, 53, 102, and 32 today. The seven-day average is 50.
A total of 2,385,625 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 1,644,483 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: https://globalepidemics.org/key-metrics-for-covid-suppression/
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: https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/testing/testing-positivity
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.”
IDPH says the test positivity target is 5% or less. IDPH provides these categories and ratings: 1) “Minimal” – test positivity rate is equal to or less than 5%: 2) “Moderate” – test positivity rate is between 5% and 8%; and 3) “Substantial” – test positivity rate is over 8%. In its Metrics for School Determination of Community Spread, IDPH says the target is 5%.