Complete Reopening Planned for June 11
Gov. JB Pritzker announced today that the State will move to the Bridge Phase on May 14 and, barring any significant reversal, to Phase 5 of the State’s Reopening Plan on June 11.
Gov. Pritzker said that the upward trend of new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations due to COVID-19 over the last 28 days has stabilized. “The number of people going into the hospital each day with COVID-19 has dropped. The total number of patients fighting COVID-19 in the hospital is beginning to level off, and our Statewide ICU Bed Availability is above 20%,” said the Governor.
“As a result, on Friday, May 14, the State of Illinois will move into the Bridge Phase of our mitigation plan, one step closer to removing nearly all of the remaining mitigations. For restaurants and bars and retail and weddings and public gatherings, this means higher capacity limits, and a very hopeful move toward full reopening.” The mitigations are summarized here.
“And barring any significant reversals in key COVID-19 Statewide indicators, Illinois will move to Phase 5 – normal business operations free of pandemic related mitigations as soon as Friday, June 11,” said Gov. Pritzker.
“Whenever we reach Phase 5, we will continue to follow CDC guidelines on masking to keep this pandemic at bay.
“This good news comes with a caveat,” the Governor continued. “We have all seen throughout this pandemic that this virus and its variants have proven to be unpredictable. Metrics that look strong today are far from a guarantee of how things will look a week, two weeks, a month from now. We saw that last August, and again last March. But what we do know is that we have tools in our arsenal, like vaccinations and wearing masks that if we all use them have proven extremely effective.”
Gov. Pritzker added that the best way to prevent another surge is for everyone to get vaccinated. He encouraged everyone to do so.
The Governor also announced that beginning today the State was allowing physicians to vaccinate patients in their offices. “Already, as of this afternoon, over 1,000 offices have signed up to do this,” he said. “And I’m encouraging all interested providers to do the same. We have the vaccine, all we need is the doctors.”
Risk of Community Spread
The charts in the above chart box show that the seven-day average of new cases in Evanston, suburban Cook County, Chicago, and the State is trending downward. On a Statewide basis, though, the Illinois Department of Public Health says the 28-day trend of hospitalizations due to COVID-19 in the State is increasing.
For benchmarks used to assess the risk of spread, see footnotes 1–4.
Evanston – COVID
The City reported 14 new COVID-19 cases of Evanston residents today, compared to six yesterday.
The average number of new cases per day in the last seven days is 8.1, down from the seven-day average of 11 on April 29.
In the last seven days, there was a total of 57 new COVID-19 cases of Evanstonians, which equates to about 77 new cases per 100,000 people in the seven-day period.
Evanston’s case positivity rate for the last seven days is 0.7%.
There has been a total of 4,565 COVID-19 cases of Evanston residents during the pandemic, 170 of which are active.
One Evanstonian died due to COVID-19 in the last 24 hours. The number of deaths due to COVID-19 is 117.
Impact of Northwestern University. Northwestern University has posted data on its website reporting that between April 29 and May 5, there were 21 new confirmed COVID-19 cases of NU faculty, staff and students. If the faculty, staff, or students reside in Evanston, they are included in the City’s numbers. The number reported by NU, though, includes people who live outside of Evanston. 
Illinois – COVID-19
In the State, there were 1,778 new COVID-19 cases reported today, down from 2,410 yesterday.
Statewide, the average number of new cases per day in the last seven days is 2,332. The seven-day average one week ago on April 29 was 2,732, so today’s number is down by 15%.
Today’s seven-day average is up from a low this year of 1,513 on March 15. An accompanying chart shows the trend.
In the seven days ending May 6, the number of new cases per 100,000 people in the State was 129, down from 151 one week ago.
The seven-day case positivity rate for the State today is 3.0% and the test positivity rate is 3.8%.
On a Statewide basis, the number of hospitalizations due to COVID-19 was 2,055 as of midnight on May 5. The number is up from 1,112 on March 15.
IDPH said today, though, that there has been “no significant change” in the trend of total hospitalizations due to COVID-19 in the last 28 days.
The number of patients using ICU beds is 483, up from 227 on March 15. The number of patients on ventilators is 243, up from 95 on March 15.
On a Statewide basis, there were 40 deaths due to COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, which brings the total to 22,136. IDPH said today the trend in the mortality rate has been “increasing” in the last 28 days.
For the last seven days, the numbers of deaths in the State are 33, 32, 27, 28, 19, 30, and 40 today. The seven-day average is 31.
Variants in Illinois
IDPH is reporting a combined total of 4,749 confirmed cases of COVID-19 variants in the State, up 35% from one week ago. Of those, 3,161 are the variant first discovered in the U.K.
Vaccinations in the State
A total of 9,646,432 doses of vaccine have been administered in Illinois. As of May 6, 80% of the residents of Illinois 65 and older have had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 56% of Illinois residents 16 and over have had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
1/ On Feb. 12, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 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.
CDC’s guidelines are available here: Operational Strategy for K-12 Schools through Phased Prevention | CDC
2/ Number of Cases per 100,000 Population. On July 1, 2020, 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, 2020, Johns Hopkins University & Medicine Coronavirus Resource Center said on its website that “the World Health Organization (WHO) advised governments [on May 15, 2020] 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, 2020, 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.