The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has issued the following recommendations for the upcoming holidays. “The best way to minimize COVID-19 risk and keep your family and friends safer is to get vaccinated if you’re eligible,” the agency says.

Generally, the CDC advises:

  • Protect those not yet eligible for vaccination such as young children by getting yourself and other eligible people around them vaccinated.
  • Wear well-fitting masks over your nose and mouth if you are in public indoor settings if you are not fully vaccinated.
    • Even those who are fully vaccinated should wear a mask in public indoor settings in communities with substantial to high transmission.
      • Outdoors is safer than indoors.
    • Avoid crowded, poorly ventilated spaces.
    • If you are sick or have symptoms, don’t host or attend a gathering.
    • Get tested if you have symptoms of COVID-19 or have a close contact with someone who has COVID-19.

“If you are considering traveling for a holiday or event, visit CDC’s Travel page to help you decide what is best for you and your family. CDC still recommends delaying travel until you are fully vaccinated.”

Recent Trends

New Cases: The weekly number of new cases per 100,000 people in Illinois increased from 173 to 208 in the week ending November 18, a 20% increase from the prior week. The number of new cases per week in the state are now about nine 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 higher in Evanston, Chicago and suburban Cook County. The change in the number of new cases per 100,000 in the last week for Evanston, suburban Cook County, Chicago and Illinois is: Evanston –  80 to 73; suburban Cook County – 146 to 182; Chicago – 120 to 141; Illinois – 173 to 208.

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

Test Positivity Rates: The seven-day test-positivity rates in each region are: Evanston 0.69%; suburban Cook County – 2.4%; Chicago – 2.6%; and Illinois – 3.6%. Each region moved up a fraction of a percentage.

Vaccinations: The Illinois Department of Public Health reports that as of November 18, 78.5% of Illinois residents 12 and older had at least one dose of a vaccine, and 71.8% were fully vaccinated. These percentages include people who reside in Illinois and have been vaccinated in other states as well as Illinois. (Source: CDC and IDPH.)

Evanston – COVID

As of November 18, 87.2%of Evanston residents five and older had received at least one dose of a vaccine; 77.8% were fully vaccinated. (Source: City of Evanston.)

Evanston reported 16 new COVID-19 cases on November 18. There were 54 new COVID-19 cases of Evanston residents in the week ending November 18, compared to 59 in the prior week.   

The seven-day test positivity rate November 18 is 0.69%, up slightly from the prior week.

There has been a total of 5,638 COVID-19 cases of Evanston residents during the pandemic, 66 of which are active.

The last Evanstonian to die from COVID-19 was on October 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 five new COVID-19 cases of students and four new cases of staff at District 65 in the week ending November 16.  

According to data posted on Evanston Township High School’s website, there were two new COVID-19 cases of students at ETHS and one of staff for the week ending November 11.  

The data does not indicate if the students or staff members were infected at the schools.

Impact of Northwestern University. The most recent data on Northwestern University’s website reports that between November 12 and 18 there were 37 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 18.  NU will update its data on Nov. 19.

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.

 Illinois Data

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