Earlier this week, a panel of independent advisers to the Food and Drug Administration recommended that the FDA issue an emergency use authorization for Pfizer’s vaccine for children ages 5 to 11. One dose of the vaccine for this age group will contain one-third the amount of the dose for adults.  Children would receive a second dose 21 days or more after the first shot.

The FDA could issue the emergency use authorization as early as Oct. 29. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would then decide whether to recommend use of the vaccine for children ages 5 to 11. CDC’s decision could come next week.

At the local level, new COVID-19 cases in Evanston dropped to 40 for the week ending Oct. 28, down from 76 the prior week. The cases in the prior week were likely influenced by the 57 new cases reported by Northwestern University for the prior week.

Recent Trends

New Cases: The weekly number of new cases per 100,000 people in Illinois increased from 112 to 118 in the week ending Oct. 28, a 5% increase from the prior week. The number of new cases per week in the state are now about five 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 higher in suburban Cook County, but lower in Evanston and Chicago. The number of new cases per 100,000 for Evanston, suburban Cook County, Chicago and Illinois are: Evanston – 54; suburban Cook County – 107; Chicago – 85; and Illinois – 118.

Under Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, suburban Cook County and Illinois are considered to be areas of “high transmission.” Evanston and Chicago are considered to be areas of “substantial transmission.” See footnote 2.

Test Positivity Rates: The seven-day test-positivity rates in each region are: Evanston 0.5%; suburban Cook County – 1.8%; Chicago – 1.7%; and Illinois – 2.2%.

Vaccinations: The number of people in the state who are vaccinated continues to grow, but at a very slow pace. As of Oct. 28, 81.1% of Illinois residents 12 and older had at least one dose of a vaccine, up from 81% on Oct. 21; and 63.5% were fully vaccinated, up from 63.4% on Oct. 21. These percentages include people who reside in Illinois and have been vaccinated in Illinois or in other states. (Source: CDC and Illinois Department of Public Health.)

As of Oct. 28, 89.6% of Evanston residents 12 and older had received at least one dose of a vaccine; 82.6% were fully vaccinated. There is a fraction of a percent increase in each number from the prior week. (Source: City of Evanston.)

Evanston – COVID

Evanston reported 10 new COVID-19 cases of Evanston residents Oct. 28, compared to eight on Oct. 27 and nine on Oct. 26.

There has been a total of 40 new COVID-19 cases of Evanston residents in the last seven days, compared to 76 in the prior seven days. In the last seven days, about 8,000 COVID-19 tests were administered, compared to 8,500 in the prior week.

The seven-day test positivity rate today is 0.5%, compared to 0.9% one week ago.

There has been a total of 5,476 COVID-19 cases of Evanston residents during the pandemic, 46 of which are active.

In the last week, one Evanstonian died due to COVID-19 (on Oct. 25) The total number of Evanston deaths due to COVID-19 is 122.

Cases at District 65 and ETHS. According to data posted on School District 65’s website, there were six new COVID-19 cases of students at District 65 in the week ending Oct. 26, and 53 students were in quarantine. The data does not indicate if the students were infected at the schools. There were two new cases for staff, and four staff members were in quarantine.

According to data posted on ETHS’s website, for the week ending Oct. 22, there was one new COVID-19 case of a student and one was in quarantine. For staff, there was one new case, and one staff member was in quarantine The data does not indicate if the student or staff member were infected at the schools.

Impact of Northwestern University. The most recent data on Northwestern University’s website reports that between Oct. 22 and Oct. 28 there were 40 new confirmed COVID-19 cases of an NU faculty member, staff member or student. Of the 40 new cases, 29 were of non-undergraduate students. If the faculty member, staff member or student resides in Evanston, the case or cases would be included in the city’s numbers.

Booster Shots

Last week, the CDC recommended expanded use of a booster dose of the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines. Booster doses of all three vaccines are free and available at a number of locations for eligible individuals. Visit vaccines.gov or call 800-232-0233 to schedule an appointment.

Residents who want a booster dose from the City of Evanston should complete the city’s Vaccine Booster Survey to be notified of upcoming vaccination events. At this time, the City is only offering booster doses of the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines.

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

 

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...

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.