Vaccinations in Evanston
The City of Evanston announced yesterday evening that it has distributed more than 12,500 vaccine doses to Evanston hospitals, healthcare workers, paramedics, first responders, and those most vulnerable to severe illness or complications from COVID-19.
The City’s Health & Human Services Department has partnered with AMITA Health St. Francis Hospital to expand the City’s capacity to distribute COVID-19 vaccinations to the community. Yesterday, St. Francis Hospital began to serve as an additional location for closed City of Evanston point of distribution (POD) events, allowing more eligible residents to receive the vaccine each week as supplies increase.
Under this partnership, the City will distribute a portion of the vaccines it receives each week to the hospital, and the City will continue to manage invitations and registration for all POD events. St. Francis medical staff will administer vaccinations at events hosted at the hospital. As with all City of Evanston vaccination events, pre-registration will be required, and walk-ins will not be accepted.
Yesterday, more than 230 people 73 years and older received their first dose of the vaccine at St. Francis Hospital. In addition, the City administered more than 180 vaccinations on-site to residents of two congregate living facilities.
Today, St. Francis Hospital hosted another closed vaccination event for people 73 years and older, as well as teachers.
This week, the City administered a total of 1,000 second doses of the vaccines.
Next week, the City anticipates beginning vaccinations of individuals 72 years and older. Additional vaccination events will be planned as supplies are confirmed and received.
Risk of Community Spread
Both the CDC and IDPH recommend that communities assess the risk that COVID-19 will spread using two measures: 1) the total number of new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people in the community (e.g., county) in the past seven days; and 2) the percentage of tests for COVID-19 that were returned positive in the last 7 days. [1, 2 and 3]
For total cases in the last 7 days per 100,000 people, IDPH uses a target of 50 cases. CDC says between 10 and 49 cases represents a “moderate” risk of transmission.
For test positivity in the last 7 days, IDPH uses a target of 5%. CDC says between 5% and 7.9% represents a “moderate” risk of transmission.
Two of the charts in the above chart box track these two measures for Evanston, Suburban Cook County, Chicago and the State.  The third chart shows the trend of new cases in the State.
Evanston – COVID
There were 15 new confirmed COVID-19 cases of Evanston residents today, up from 11 yesterday.
The average number of new cases per day in the last seven days is 10.6, down from the seven-day average of 12.6 on Feb. 12. For purposes of comparison, on Oct. 12, the seven-day average was 5.6.
There has been a total of 3,822 COVID-19 cases of Evanston residents during the pandemic, 209 of which are active.
In the last seven days, there was a total of 74 new COVID-19 cases of Evanstonians. That equates to about 98 new cases per 100,000 people in the seven-day period.
The case positivity rate over the last seven days is 1.5%.
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 364 tests, with an average of 728 tests per day in the last seven days. The high number of tests is likely due to testing of Northwestern University students, which 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. 12 and Feb. 18 there were 46 new confirmed COVID-19 cases of staff (3), non-undergraduate students (10), and undergraduate students (33). 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. 
Illinois – COVID
In the State, there were 2,219 new COVID-19 cases reported today.
Statewide, the average number of new cases per day in the last seven days is 1,781. The seven-day average has declined 39 out of the last 40 days. The seven-day average one week ago, on Feb. 12, was 2,459, so today’s number is a decrease of 28%.
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. 19, the number of new cases per 100,000 people in the State was 98, down from 136 one week ago.
The seven-day case positivity rate for the State today is 2.8% and the test positivity rate is 3.3%.
On a Statewide basis, the number of hospitalizations due to COVID-19 was 1,596 as of midnight on Feb. 18. This is down from an all-time high of 6,171 on Nov. 23.
The number of patients using ICU beds is 366, down from 1,195 on Dec. 1. The number of patients on ventilators is 190, down from 724 on Dec. 1.
On a Statewide basis, there were 63 deaths due to COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, which brings the total to 20,192.
For the last seven days, the numbers of deaths in the State are 53, 35, 41, 32, 24, 72, and 63 today. The seven-day average is 46.
Vaccinations in the State
A total of 2,631,975 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 2,060,706 doses of vaccines have been administered.
1/ On Feb. 12, the CDC issued a “K-12 School Operational Strategy.” As part of that strategy, the report says, “CDC recommends the use of two measures of community burden to determine the level of risk of transmission: 1) the total number of new cases per 100,000 persons in the past 7 days; and 2) the percentage of nucleic acid amplification tests (NAATs), including RT-PCR tests that are positive during the last 7 days. The two measures of community burden should be used to assess the incidence and spread of SARS-CoV-2 in the surrounding community (e.g., county) and not in the schools themselves.” The CDC provides a chart to assess whether the risk of transmission is low, moderate, substantial, or high. The CDC recommends different types of mitigations depending on the risk level. If the two indicators suggest different levels of risk, the mitigations recommended in the higher level of risk should be implemented, says CDC. The table below, reprinted from CDC’s report, provides CDC’s Indicators and Thresholds for Community Transmission of COVID-219.
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/ The Test Positivity Rate. In addition, 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%.
4/ 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.
5/ 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.