Evanston has reported no new COVID-19 cases in four of the last seven days. Its seven-day average of new cases per day dropped to 0.7%. Its test positivity rate is 0.1%. It is well below the thresholds recommended by the Illinois Department of Public Health and leading researchers.

The number of cases reported by the State today is the lowest it has been in more than a year.

Risk of Community Spread

The charts in the above chart box show that the seven-day averages of new cases in Evanston, suburban Cook County, Chicago, and the State are continuing to decline. The data shows that all four regions are controlling the spread of the virus.

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

Evanston – COVID

The City reported zero new COVID-19 cases of Evanston residents today. In the three prior days there were no cases on Saturday, two on Sunday, and none yesterday.

The average number of new cases per day in the last seven days is 0.7, down from the seven-day average of 2.4 on May 25.

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

Evanston’s case positivity rate for the last seven days is 0.1%. 

There has been a total of 4,637 COVID-19 cases of Evanston residents during the pandemic, 60 of which are active. 

One Evanstonian died due to COVID-19 on May 31. The number of deaths due to COVID-19 is 118.

Impact of Northwestern University. Northwestern University has posted data on its website reporting that between May 24 and May 30, there was one new confirmed COVID-19 case of an NU faculty member, staff, or student. If the faculty member, staff, or student resides in Evanston, the case would be included in the City’s numbers. [5]

Illinois – COVID-19

In the State, there were 401 new COVID-19 cases reported today. In the prior three days the number of new cases were 802 on Saturday, then 602 and 521.

Statewide, the average number of new cases per day in the last seven days is 762, which is the lowest seven-day average this year. The seven-day average one week ago on May 25 was 1,220, so today’s number is down by 38%. The downward trend continues. An accompanying chart shows the trend.

In the seven days ending April 1, the number of new cases per 100,000 people in the State was 42, down from 67 one week ago.

The seven-day case positivity rate for the State today is 1.6% and the test positivity rate is 1.9%.

On a Statewide basis, the number of hospitalizations due to COVID-19 was 1,031 as of midnight on May 31. The number is down 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 284, up from 227 on March 15. The number of patients on ventilators is 162, up from 95 on March 15.

On a Statewide basis, there were eight deaths due to COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, which brings the total to 22,835.  IDPH said today there has been “no significant change” in the mortality rate in the last 28 days.

For the last seven days, the number of deaths in the State are 27, 42, 21, 37, 18, 33, and 8 today. The seven-day average is 27.

Variants in Illinois

IDPH is reporting a combined total of 8,287 confirmed cases of COVID-19 variants in the State. The combined total of variants is up 7% from one week ago.

Vaccinations in the State

A total of 11,308,983 doses of vaccine have been administered in Illinois. As of April 1, 82.96% of Illinois residents 65 and older have had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 61.40% of residents 16 and older have had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. These percentages continue to move up very slowly.

In the last seven days, the average number of vaccinations given to Illinoisans is 45,545. On April 28, the seven-day average was 100,823; on April 21, it was 122,842. The pace of vaccinations has slowed down even though there is a larger supply and more places to get a vaccination.


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: 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.

Bridge phase A Bridge to Phase 5 (illinois.gov)

Larry Gavin

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...

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