In the last two days the number of new COVID-19 cases in Illinois declined from a nine-month high of 5,178 yesterday to 4,224 today. On Monday the number of new cases was 2,395, but jumped to 4,871 on Tuesday. The seven-day average of new cases is 14% higher today than one week ago.

Yet, at a press conference this morning, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said, “It seems like things are flattening. And that’s a really good piece of news for all of us.” He said he would be watching the numbers and if the numbers were “not just flattening, but heading down,” he would take action “as we see things improving.”

Hopefully, new cases will trend down.

Rental Assistance

Gov. Pritzker, together with the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA), today announced that more than $252 million in rental assistance has been paid on behalf of almost 29,500 renter households in Illinois through the Illinois Rental Payment Program. ILRPP was launched in May and provides up to $25,000 in financial assistance paid directly to the landlord.

The program provides up to 12 months of past-due rent and up to three months of future rent payments for tenants at risk of housing instability due to the pandemic, said the Governor’s office in a prepared statement. The average amount of assistance has been $8,580 per household.

Application approvals and payouts will continue as IHDA continues to review the pipeline of completed applications through the end of September, said the Governor’s office. Gov. Pritzker recently extended the eviction moratorium in Illinois through Oct. 3.

For renters who missed the window to apply for assistance through IHDA, the Illinois Department of Human Services is currently accepting applications for rental assistance until funding runs out. Households looking for assistance should contact an IDHS Service Provider Agency to ask about rental assistance. Provider Agencies will help people find out if they are eligible and help people apply for rental assistance, said the Governor’s office. A list of Provider Agencies, as well as organizations offering assistance with utility bills, free legal aid and additional services can be found at https://www.illinoisrentalassistance.org.

Recent Trends

New Cases: The weekly number of new cases per 100,000 people in Illinois increased to 231 for the week ending Sept. 2, a 14% increase from the week ending Aug. 26. The number of new cases per week in the State is now about 10 times higher than it was 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 – 78; suburban Cook County – 153; Chicago – 140; and Illinois – 23.

Under Center 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 – 1.8%; suburban Cook County – 4.8%; Chicago – 4.2%; and Illinois – 5.5%. The test positivity rates in each region are fairly close to where they were 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 Sept. 2, 77% of Illinois residents 12 and older had at least one dose of a vaccine, up from 76% on Aug. 26; and 59.8% were fully vaccinated, compared to 59% on Aug. 26. These percentages include people who reside in Illinois and have been vaccinated in other states.  The seven-day average for vaccinations is 40,048, up from 24,313 one week ago.  (Sources: CDC and Illinois Department of Public Health.)

As of Sept. 2, 87% of Evanston residents 12 and older had received at least one dose of a vaccine; 80% were fully vaccinated. There is a fraction of a 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 262 new cases of the Delta variant in Illinois, comprising less than 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

Evanston reported nine new COVID-19 cases of Evanston residents today, compared to 7 yesterday and 10 on Tuesday.    

The numbers are slightly worse today than one week ago. There has been a total of 58 new COVID-19 cases of Evanston residents in the last seven days, compared to 54 in the prior seven days.

The seven-day test positivity rate today is 1.8%, compared to 1.6% one week ago.

There has been a total of 4,972 COVID-19 cases of Evanston residents during the pandemic, 61 of which are active.

One Evanstonian died due to COVID-19 in the last week (on Aug. 30). The number of deaths due to COVID-19 is 120.

Cases at District 65 and ETHS. According to data posted on School District 65’s website, for the week ending Aug. 29, there were four new COVID-19 cases of students at District 65, and 28 students in quarantine. According to data posted on Evanston Township High School’s website, for the week ending Aug. 29, there were four new COVID-19 cases of students at ETHS and four were in quarantine. The data does not indicate if the students were infected at the schools.

Impact of Northwestern University. The most recent data on Northwestern University’s website reports that between Aug. 27 and Sept. 2, there were 31 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.  

FOOTNOTES

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

 

Leave a comment

The RoundTable will try to post comments within a few hours, but there may be a longer delay at times. Comments containing mean-spirited, libelous or ad hominem attacks will not be posted. Your full name and email is required. We do not post anonymous comments. Your e-mail will not be posted.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *