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New COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people puts Evanston, Chicago, suburban Cook County, and Illinois in “middle” risk level.

A researcher with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the actual number of new cases is three times the reported number because many people who test positive on tests taken at home are not reporting them.

Percent of variants in Illinois

The percentage of the COVID-19 cases attributable to the Omicron BA.2 subvariant is now 76.3% of the cases in Illinois, up from 7.2% one month ago, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health. The Omicron BA.2.12.1 subvariant accounts for an additional 16.2% of the cases, compared to 0% one month ago.

Some experts warn that a new surge could take place in the United States when safety protocols are on the wane. Evidence is not clear on whether the new BA.2 subvariant causes more severe illness.

Trends of new cases

Illinois: On May 5, the number of new cases in the state were 4,148, down from 4,593 one week ago.

The seven-day average of new cases in Illinois on May 5, though, was 4,126, up from 3,214 on April 28, a 28% increase. An accompanying chart shows the trend.   

Evanston: Evanston reported 55 new COVID-19 cases of Evanston residents on May 4 (Evanston is reporting COVID-19 data with a one-day delay).

There were 305 new COVID-19 cases of Evanston residents in the week ending May 4, compared to 216 new cases in the week ending April 28, an increase of 41%.   

 The seven-day average of new cases was 43.6 for the week ending May 4, compared to 30.9 for the week ending April 28.  An accompanying chart shows the trend.

One Evanstonian died due to COVID-19 during the week ending May 4. The number of deaths due to COVID-19 is now 148.

Cases at District 65, ETHS, and NU: It appears that new cases at the schools account for a significant number of the new cases in Evanston.

School District 65’s COVID-19 dashboard reports that for the seven-days ending May 3, a total of 123 students and 17 staff members tested positive for COVID-19.

ETHS reports on its dashboard that in the seven days ending May 2, 27 students and five staff members tested positive for COVID-19.

The data does not reflect whether the students and staff contracted the virus while at school.

The latest data reported on Northwestern University’s website is that between April 22 and April 28, there were 189 new COVID-19 cases of faculty, staff or students. If the cases are of an Evanston resident, they are included in Evanston’s data for the relevant period, Ike Ogbo, Director of Evanston’s Department of Health and Human Services told the RoundTable. NU will update its data tomorrow.   

Cases per 100,000

The weekly number of new cases per 100,000 people in Illinois increased from 177 in the seven days ending April 28 to 227 in the seven days ending May 5.

As of May 4, the weekly number of new cases per 100,000 people in Evanston was 412. As of May 5, the number was 216 for Chicago, and 293 for suburban Cook County. An accompanying chart shows the trend.

Hospitalizations

Hospitalizations due to COVID-19 remain relatively low in Illinois, but they increased from 517 on April 6 to 799 on May 5.

The chart below, prepared by the City of Evanston, shows the trends in hospitalizations due to COVID-19 at the closest three hospitals serving Evanston residents.

Midlevel risk for city, suburb and state

The CDC and IDPH look at the combination of three metrics – new COVID-19 hospital admissions per 100,000 population in the past seven days, the seven-day average percent of staffed inpatient beds occupied by COVID-19 patients, and total new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 population in the past seven days — to determine the COVID-19 Community Level for each county in the state: low, medium or high. [1]

The new case rates of Evanston, Chicago, suburban Cook County and Illinois, standing alone, put each area in the middle risk area.

IDPH recommends that people in a community with a “middle” ranking should:

  • Wear a mask based on personal preference, informed by personal level of risk. People with symptoms, a positive test or exposure to someone with COVID-19 should wear a mask.
  • If you are immunocompromised or high risk for severe disease
    • Talk to your health care provider about whether you need to wear a mask and take other precautions (e.g. testing)
  • If you have household or social contact with someone at high risk for severe disease
    • consider self-testing to detect infection before contact, and
    • consider wearing a mask when indoors with them
  • Stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines and boosters
  • Maintain improved ventilation throughout indoor spaces when possible
  • Follow CDC recommendations for isolation and quarantine, including getting tested if you are exposed to COVID-19 or have symptoms of COVID-19
  • If you are immunocompromised or high risk for severe disease
  • Have a plan for rapid testing if needed (e.g., having home tests or access to testing)
  • Talk to your health care provider about whether you are a candidate for treatments like oral antivirals, PrEP, and monoclonal antibodies

FOOTNOTES

1/ CDC recommends the use of three indicators to measure COVID-19 Community Levels: 1) new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 population in the last 7 days; 2) new COVID-19 hospital admissions per 100,000 population in the last 7 days; and 3) the percent of staffed inpatient beds occupied by patients with confirmed COVID-19 (7-day average). 

The chart below illustrates how these indicators are combined to determine whether COVID-19 Community Levels are low, medium, or high. The CDC provides many recommendations depending on whether the COVID-19 Community Level is low, medium, or high.

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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