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New Guidelines for Schools

Yesterday, the Illinois State Board of Education and the Illinois Department of Public Health issued new guidelines for schools. One major change is that the guidelines allow social distancing of between 3 and 6 feet, rather than requiring 6 feet. For an article, click here.

Update on Vaccinations in Evanston

To date, the City of Evanston has administered or distributed nearly 17,000 total COVID-19 vaccine doses as part of Phase 1a and 1b. This week:

  • On Monday and Tuesday, approximately 300 individuals 74 years and older received their 2nd doses at AMITA Health St. Francis Hospital.
  • On Tuesday, the City administered approximately 450 1st doses to individuals 69 years and older, as well as educators and essential frontline staff.
  • Today, the City administered 2nd doses to 90 individuals at Ebenezer Primm Towers and Jacob Blake Manor congregate living facilities. In addition, approximately 120 individuals 68 years and older received their 1st doses at AMITA Health St. Francis Hospital.
  • On Friday, the City anticipates administering nearly 700 2nd doses to individuals 75 and older.

Next week, the City is planning to hold two 1st dose vaccination events for individuals 67 years and older. Additional vaccination events will be scheduled as supplies are confirmed and received. 

The City says it anticipates that it will administer 1st dose vaccinations to most residents 65 years and older this month. The focus will then shift to essential workers and others included as part of Phase 1b. 

The City says it is continuing to advocate for more vaccine doses from the Illinois Department of Public Health and is prepared to increase the pace of vaccine distribution as the supply increases. 

Risk of Community Spread

Two of the charts in the above chart box track: 1) the total number of new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people in Evanston, Suburban Cook County, Chicago and the State, and 2) the percentage of tests for COVID-19 that were returned positive in the last 7 days.

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. [1, 2 and 3]

Evanston – COVID

The City reported 13 new COVID-19 cases of Evanston residents today, up from 12 yesterday.

The average number of new cases per day in the last seven days is 7.6 down from the seven-day average of 9.1 on March 4.

In the last seven days, there was a total of 53 new COVID-19 cases of Evanstonians. The 53 new cases equate to about 70 new cases per 100,000 people in the seven-day period.

The case positivity rate over the last seven days is 0.7%. The rate has dropped from 2.9% on March 5.

There has been a total of 4,014 COVID-19 cases of Evanston residents during the pandemic, 164 of which are active.  

No Evanstonian died due to COVID-19 in the last 24 hours. The number of deaths due to COVID-19 remains at 114.

Impact of Northwestern University. Northwestern University has posted data on its website reporting that between March 4 and March 10 there were 31 new confirmed COVID-19 cases of faculty, staff, and students. The number includes those who live outside of Evanston. The City says it does not know how many of these cases are people who live in Evanston. The NU test positivity rate is 0.2%. [5]

Illinois – COVID

 In the State, there were 1,700 new COVID-19 cases reported today, up from 1,682 yesterday.

Statewide, the average number of new cases per day in the last seven days is 1,593. The seven-day average one week ago, on March 4 was 1,719, so today’s number is down by 7%.  

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 March 11, the number of new cases per 100,000 people in the State was 88, down from 95 one week ago.

The seven-day case positivity rate for the State today is 2.2% and the test positivity rate is 2.5%.

On a Statewide basis, the number of hospitalizations due to COVID-19 was 1,118 as of midnight on March 11. This is down from an all-time high of 6,171 on Nov. 23.

The number of patients using ICU beds is 231, down from 1,195 on Dec. 1. The number of patients on ventilators is 102, down from 724 on Dec. 1.

On a Statewide basis, there were 55 deaths due to COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, which brings the total to 20,863.

For the last seven days, the numbers of deaths in the State are  33, 49, 14, 5, 16, 30, and 55 today. The seven-day average is 29.

Variants in Illinois

IDPH also reported today there were a total of 98 confirmed cases of COVID-19 variants in the State: 94 are the variant first discovered in the UK; 2 are the variants discovered in South Africa, and 2 are the variants discovered in Brazil.

Vaccinations in the State

A total of 4,903,555 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 3,680,703 doses of vaccines have been administered.

FOOTNOTES 

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.