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The Illinois Department of Public Health announced November 3 that it adopted the recommendation of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention permitting children 5 through 11 to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.

The dose of the Pfizer vaccine for children 5 to 11 is one-third that used for people 12 and older. There are two doses, three weeks apart.

“I encourage parents who may have questions about COVID-19 vaccines for their children to talk with a pediatrician or family doctor,” said IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike.  “Medical experts and scientists have reviewed the data, which included clinical trials with more than 3,000 children receiving the vaccine, and have recommended the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for children. While most children do not suffer severe COVID-19 illness, some do. We also know children are great transmitters and can unknowingly infect people who could suffer severe illness. We need as many people as possible, including children, to be vaccinated to stop the spread of the virus and end this pandemic.”  

“In clinical trials, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was found to be more than 90% effective in preventing COVID-19 in children ages 5 through 11,” said IDPH in a prepared statement. “Side effects commonly reported in children, although less frequent compared to adolescents and adults, were generally mild to moderate and included injection site pain (sore arm), redness and swelling, fatigue, headache, muscle and/or joint pain, chills, and fever. Side effects occurred within two days after vaccination and went away within a day or two. “  

COVID-19 vaccinations for those five and older will be available at local health departments, many pharmacies, pediatrician offices, Federally Qualified Health Centers and from other providers who offer the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, said IDPH. In addition, IDPH is working with schools to set up vaccination clinics.  

School District 65 is hosting a virtual one-hour webinar with Sharon Robinson, M.D., Assistant Dean of Diversity, Physician Director, Primary Care for NorthShore University Health System. The session will also include a Q&A. The seminar is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on November 8. Go to District 65’s website for a zoom link. A recording of the session will be available on the District 65 website. 

Parents may complete the City’s COVID-19 Vaccine Survey for 5-11 Year Olds to be notified of upcoming vaccination events for children 5 to 11 hosted by the City’s Health & Human Services Department. The City is planning a number of vaccination clinics at various locations starting later next week.

Recent Trends

New Cases: The weekly number of new cases per 100,000 people in Illinois increased from 118 to 136 in the week ending November 4, a 15% increase from the prior week. The number of new cases per week in the State are now about 5.9 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 Evanston, Chicago and suburban Cook County. The growth in the number of new cases per 100,000 in the last week for Evanston, suburban Cook County, Chicago and Illinois is: Evanston – 54 to 66; suburban Cook County – 107 to 124; Chicago – 85 to 96; Illinois – 118 to 136.

Under CDC 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 – 1.9%; Chicago – 1.7%; and Illinois – 2.4%.

Vaccinations: IDPH reports that as of November 4, 76.8% of Illinois residents 12 and older had at least one dose of a vaccine, and 70.7% were fully vaccinated. These percentages include people who reside in Illinois and have been vaccinated in Illinois or in other states. (Source: CDC and IDPH.)

As of November 4, 90.3% of Evanston residents 12 and older had received at least one dose of a vaccine; 83.3% were fully vaccinated. That is a fraction of a percentage point increase in each number from the prior week. (Source: City of Evanston.)

Evanston – COVID

Evanston reported three new COVID-19 cases of Evanston residents November 4 compared to six on November 3 and 10 on November 2.

There has been a total of 49 new COVID-19 cases of Evanston residents in the last seven days, compared to 40 in the prior seven days. In the last seven days, about 9,700 COVID-19 tests were administered, compared to 8,000 in the prior week.

The seven-day test positivity rate today is 0.5%, the same as one week ago.

There has been a total of 5,526 COVID-19 cases of Evanston residents during the pandemic, 52 of which are active.

The last death of an Evanstonian due to COVID-19 was on October 25. The number of 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 10 new COVID-19 cases of students at District 65 in the week ending November 2 and 89 students were in quarantine. The data does not indicate if the students were infected at the schools. There were nine new cases for staff and three staff members were in quarantine.

According to data posted on ETHS’s website, for the week ending October 29, there were two new COVID-19 cases of students at ETHS and six students were in quarantine. For staff, there were no new cases, 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 October 22 and October 28, there were 40 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. NU’s new case data is now a week old and does not shed light on Evanston’s cases in the week ending November 4.  NU will update its data on November 5.

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

 Illinois Data

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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