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In the last seven days, there were a total of 25,598 new COVID-19 cases in Illinois. Two months ago, the seven-day total was 1,736.
In a press conference this morning, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said that the rapid spread of COVID-19 “is increasingly causing concern for hospital capacity in communities across Illinois.”
“Let’s be clear,” he said, “98% of our cases are among the unvaccinated; 96% of our hospitalizations are among unvaccinated people; 95% of our deaths are among unvaccinated people.
“This is a pandemic of the unvaccinated,” Gov. Pritzker added. “These are preventable deaths. And beyond the tragedy of losing lives for no reason, this also means inflicting serious damage on communities.
“The quick spread of this disease in Illinois and across the country is holding us all back from the post-pandemic life we so desperately want to embrace, and it’s harming the most vulnerable among us,” said the Governor. “We are running out of time as our hospitals run out of beds. Vaccination remains our strongest tool to protect ourselves and our loved ones, to restore post-pandemic life to our communities, and most crucially, to maintain our healthcare system’s ability to care for anyone who walks through their doors in need of help.”
To address the latest surge, Gov. Pritzker said, “All healthcare workers, including nursing home employees, all pre-k-12 teachers and staff, as well as higher education personnel and students will now be required to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Employees in all of these settings and higher education students who are unable or unwilling to receive the vaccine will be required to get tested for COVID-19 at least once per week, and [Illinois Department of Public Health] and [Illinois State Board of Education] may require increased testing in certain situations.”
In addition, “All Illinois residents over the age of two will be required to wear a mask in all indoor settings, effective Monday, Aug. 30,” said the Governor. “The requirement is applicable to both vaccinated and unvaccinated residents statewide.”
“Unlike the wave of COVID-19 we saw earlier this Spring, we’re now seeing our hospital resources stretched thin with some areas of Illinois reduced to only a handful of available ICU beds,” said IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike. “The vast majority of hospitalizations, as well as cases and deaths, are among those who are unvaccinated.”
Earlier this week, Evanston Health & Human Services Department entered an order that all people, regardless of vaccination status, will be required to wear a mask in businesses and indoor public settings beginning Friday, Aug. 27.
Ike Ogbu, Director of Evanston’s Health & Human Services Department , said “With an increase in COVID-19 cases both locally and nationally, combined with the threat posed by the highly contagious Delta variant, we must use every tool at our disposal to slow the spread of COVID-19.”
New Cases: The weekly number of new cases per 100,000 people in Illinois increased to 202 for the week ending today, Aug. 26, a 10% increase from the week ending Aug. 19. The number of new cases per week in the State are now almost nine times higher than they were on June 10, the day before the State moved to Phase 5 of the Restore Illinois Plan.
The above chart illustrates that the trends of new cases per week are also up in Evanston, suburban Cook County and Chicago. The number of new cases per 100,000 for Evanston, suburban Cook County, Chicago and Illinois is Evanston – 75; suburban Cook County – 141; Chicago – 128; and Illinois – 202.
Under U.S. Centers for Disease Control guidelines, Evanston is considered an area with “substantial transmission.” Suburban Cook County, Chicago and Illinois are considered to be areas of “high transmission.” See Footnote 2.
Test Positivity Rates: The seven-day test-positivity rates in each region are: Evanston – 1.6%; suburban Cook County – 4.7%; Chicago – 4.1%; and Illinois – 5.7%. The test positivity rates are slightly lower in each region than one week ago. See Footnotes 2 and 3.
Vaccinations: The number of people in the State who are vaccinated continues to grow, but at a very slow pace. As of Aug. 26, 76% of Illinois residents 12 and older had at least one dose of a vaccine, up from 75.2% on Aug. 19; and 59% were fully vaccinated, compared to 58.3% on Aug. 19. These percentages include people who reside in Illinois and have been vaccinated in Illinois or in other states. The seven-day average for vaccinations is 24,313 down from 36,487 one week ago. (Source: CDC and IDPH.)
As of Aug. 26, 86.4% of Evanston residents 12 and older had received at least one dose of a vaccine; 79.8% were fully vaccinated. There was about a half percentage point increase in each number from the prior week. (Source: City of Evanston.)
Delta Variant: According to data published by IDPH, in the last seven days, there were 222 new cases of the Delta variant in Illinois, comprising about 1% of the total new cases in the State in that same period. Why this percentage is so much lower than the national level is not clear. On a nationwide basis, about 80% of the new COVID-19 cases are due to the Delta variant.
Evanston – COVID
The City reported 12 new COVID-19 cases of Evanston residents today, compared to 13 yesterday, and five on Tuesday.
There has been a total of 55 new COVID-19 cases of Evanston residents in the last seven days, compared to 43 in the prior seven days.
The seven-day test positivity rate is 1.6%.
There has been a total of 4,914 COVID-19 cases of Evanston residents during the pandemic, 51 of which are active.
One Evanstonian died due to COVID-19 in the last week (on Aug. 26). The number of deaths due to COVID-19 is now 119.
Impact of Northwestern University. The most recent data on Northwestern University’s website reports that between Aug. 13 and Aug. 19 there were 27 new confirmed COVID-19 cases of an NU faculty member, staff member or student. If the faculty member, staff member or student resides in Evanston, the case or cases would be included in the City’s numbers.
1/ The State moved to Phase 5 of the Restore Illinois Plan on June 11. As of July 1, the RoundTable has been covering COVID-19 metrics once a week on Thursdays. Specifically, the RoundTable is presenting two charts showing: 1) the trends in the number of new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people in two recent seven-day periods for Evanston, Chicago, Suburban Cook County, and the State. The chart also shows the weekly numbers of new cases for each region as of June 10 as a baseline to gauge whether cases are going up since the move to Phase 5; and 2) the most recent test positivity rates for these areas.
As discussed in footnote 3 below, the CDC recommends that these two measures be used to determine the level of risk of transmission. If we see a surge in new cases or in the test positivity rates, we will consider covering additional metrics.
We will also report the most recent percentages of vaccinated people, 12 years and older, in Evanston and Illinois.
2/ In late July, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), and Evanston’s Health & Human Services Dept. each adopted recommendations that everyone, including fully vaccinated people, wear a mask in a public indoor setting in areas with “substantial” and “high transmission” of new COVID-19 cases. Areas of substantial transmission are considered to be those with between 50 and 99 cases per 100,000 people over a 7-day period. Areas of high transmission are considered to be those with more than 100 cases per 100,000 people over a 7-day period.
They also recommend universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status.
3/ 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 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 COVID tests during the last seven days that were positive. The CDC provides a chart to assess whether the risk of transmission is low, moderate, substantial, or high. If the two indicators suggest different levels of risk, CDC says the higher level of risk should be used. 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