State Moves to Bridge Phase Tomorrow

Governor JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) confirmed today that the entire State will move to the “Bridge Phase” of the Restore Illinois reopening plan tomorrow, May 14. The Bridge Phase is the final step before the full reopening of Phase 5.

Under the Bridge Phase, there are expanded capacity limits for businesses, dining, offices, events, conferences and gatherings. Barring any significant reversals in key COVID-19 statewide indicators, Illinois could enter Phase 5 as soon as June 11.

The State will continue to follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance on mask-wearing in Phase 5. If there is a significant increase in deaths, hospitalizations, and the number of people being admitted to the hospital because of COVID-19, the State will remain in the Bridge Phase instead of moving to Phase 5, the Governor’s Office said.

“Illinoisans have worked so hard over the past year and a half to keep their families and neighbors safe. Reaching the Bridge Phase means that we’re closer than ever to a return to normalcy,” said Gov. Pritzker. “To keep up this progress, I urge every eligible Illinoisan – now including 12 to 15-year-olds – to get vaccinated as soon as possible.”

“The more people who are vaccinated, now including our youth as young as 12-years-old, the quicker we can end this pandemic,” said IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike. “Please talk with your doctor or health care provider if you have questions about the vaccine and know the facts so that you can make the most informed decision.”

To find information on vaccine locations, go to To find vaccination locations that currently have the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine authorized for use in individuals 12 years and older, go to

CDC Approves Pfizer Vaccine for 12 to 15 Year Olds

On May 12, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said she adopted a CDC Advisory Committee’s recommendation that endorsed the safety and effectiveness of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine and its use in 12- through 15-year-olds. “CDC now recommends that this vaccine be used among this population, and providers may begin vaccinating them right away,” Dr. Walensky said.

“Though most children with COVID-19 have mild or no symptoms, some children can get severely ill and require hospitalization,” Dr. Walensky added. “There have also been rare, tragic cases of children dying from COVID-19 and its effects, including multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, or MIS-C.

“Getting adolescents vaccinated means their faster return to social activities and can provide parents and caregivers peace of mind knowing their family is protected.”

Vaccination Events

The City of Evanston will host a COVID-19 vaccination event to provide the Pfizer vaccine to individuals 12 or older who live or work in Evanston from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on May 21 at Blomquist Recreation Center, 617 Foster St. A registration link for this event will be available on the City’s COVID-19 Vaccination page beginning May 14 at noon.

Evanston Township High School is also tentatively planning a vaccination event for youth 12 and older on May 22; stay tuned for details.

Cook County – Walk-in vaccinations and appointments are now available for individuals 12 and older at Cook County Mass Vaccination sites, including the nearest location in Des Plaines. 

Other trusted providers – The State of Illinois provides a list of vaccination locations offering both scheduled and walk-in vaccinations.

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.

For benchmarks used to assess the risk of spread, see footnotes 1–4.

Evanston – COVID

The City reported two new COVID-19 cases of Evanston residents today, compared to eight yesterday.   

The average number of new cases per day in the last seven days is 4.4, down from the seven-day average of 8.1 on May 6.

In the last seven days, there was a total of 31 new COVID-19 cases of Evanstonians, which equates to about 42 new cases per 100,000 people in the seven-day period.

Evanston’s case positivity rate for the last seven days is 0.6%. 

There has been a total of 4,596 COVID-19 cases of Evanston residents during the pandemic, 146 of which are active. 

No Evanstonian died due to COVID-19 since May 6. 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 May 6 and May 12, there were eight 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. [5]

Illinois – COVID-19

In the State, there were 1,918 new COVID-19 cases reported today, up from 1,795 yesterday.     

Statewide, the average number of new cases per day in the last seven days is 1,927. The seven-day average one week ago on May 6 was 2,332 so today’s number is down by 17%. The downward trend continues.  

Today’s seven-day average is still higher than the low this year of 1,513 on March 15. An accompanying chart shows the trend.

In the seven days ending May 13, the number of new cases per 100,000 people in the State was 106, down from 129 one week ago.

The seven-day case positivity rate for the State today is 2.7% and the test positivity rate is 3.2%.

On a Statewide basis, the number of hospitalizations due to COVID-19 was 1,765 as of midnight on May 12. The number is up from 1,112 on March 15.

IDPH said today that the trends in new hospital admissions and total patients hospitalized due to COVID-19 has been “decreasing” in the last 28 days.

The number of patients using ICU beds is 465, up from 227on March 15. The number of patients on ventilators is 236, up from 95 on March 15.

On a Statewide basis, there were 35 deaths due to COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, which brings the total to 22,320. IDPH said today the trend in the mortality rate has been “increasing, but not significant” in the last 28 days.  

For the last seven days, the numbers of deaths in the State are 36, 22, 20, 12, 26, 26, and 35 today. The seven-day average is about 25.

Variants in Illinois

IDPH is reporting a combined total of 6,312 confirmed cases of COVID-19 variants in the State. Of those, 4,237 are the variant first discovered in the U.K.  

The combined total of variants is up 33% from one week ago.

Vaccinations in the State

A total of 10,179,004 doses of vaccine have been administered in Illinois. As of May 11, 80.98% of the residents of Illinois 65 and older have had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine; and 57.49% of Illinoids residents 16 and older have had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. These percentages are moving up very slowly.


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.

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:

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:

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.

Bridge phase A Bridge to Phase 5 (

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...