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The total number of new cases of COVID-19 in Evanston was 270 for the week ending June 1, 19% lower than the week ending May 26. The number of new cases in the State dropped by 10%. Hospitalizations, though, increased slightly.

This evening, June 2, Evanston’s Health and Human Services Department ranked Evanston in the “medium” community risk level. The Center of Disease Control and Prevention and the Illinois Department of Public Health ranked Cook County, including Chicago, in the “high” community risk level. Lake, McHenry, DuPage and Will Counties are also in the high community risk level.

Researchers estimate that the actual number of new COVID-19 cases is about six or seven times the number being reported because many people who test positive on tests taken at home are not reporting them. A recent New York City study suggests that the actual number of new cases may be under-reported by a factor of 30.

Wastewater Testing

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and the Discovery Partners Institute (DPI) announced today, June 2, that their comprehensive effort to monitor the coronavirus and its variants in wastewater will extend into mid-2023.

“The federally funded effort will help public health officials track the prevalence of COVID-19 across Illinois and provide a potential sign of another surge in infections,” said the Governor’s office in a prepared statement. “SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, is detectable in human waste nearly from the onset of infection, while symptoms may not appear for three to five days.”

“We are very grateful to our federal funding partners for the support that allows us to continue building our capacity to conduct wastewater surveillance in communities throughout the state of Illinois,” said IDPH Acting Director Amaal Tokars. “This technology holds the promise of serving as a sentinel, early-warning system for the presence of disease as well as new variants of concern.”

The Illinois Wastewater Surveillance System is a collaboration among IDPH and scientists from DPI, the University of Illinois Chicago, Northwestern University, Argonne National Laboratory and the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.  The team has established collection sites at 71 wastewater-treatment facilities in 46 counties in the State. Nearly 200 samples are collected each week, and they are then transported to a UIC microbiology lab for analysis. A subset of samples is also sequenced at Argonne to determine which COVID-19 variants are infecting people at any given time. The results are forwarded to IDPH and can be used to inform public health protocols.

Trends of New Cases in Illinois and Evanston

Illinois:  On June 2, the number of new cases in the state was 6,300, down from 6,358 one week ago.

 The seven-day average of new cases in Illinois on June 2 was 6,358, down from 5,125 on May 26, a 10% decrease. The chart below shows the trend.   

Evanston: Evanston reported there were 44 new COVID-19 cases of Evanston residents on June 1.  (Evanston is reporting COVID-19 data with a one-day delay.)

There was a total of 270 new COVID-19 cases of Evanston residents in the week ending June 1, compared to 334 new cases in the week ending May 26, a decrease of 19%.   

 The chart below shows the trend.

No Evanstonian died due to COVID-19 during the week ending June 1. The number of deaths due to COVID-19 remains at 149.

Cases at D65, ETHS, and NU: It appears that the new cases at the schools continue to 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 31, a total of 86 students and 23 staff members tested positive for COVID-19.

ETHS reports on its dashboard that in the seven-days ending May 23 (the most recent report for ETHS), 50 students and 13 staff 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 NU’s website is that between May 20 and May 26 there were 393 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 is 255 in the seven days ending June 2.  

As of June 1, the weekly number of new cases per 100,000 people in Evanston was 365. As of June 2, the number was 244 for Chicago, and 281 for Suburban Cook County. An accompanying chart shows the trend.

Hospitalizations

Hospitalizations due to COVID-19 have more than doubled in the last seven weeks. They have increased from 517 on April 6 to 1,267 on June 1.

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.

 Cook County is in the High Risk Level

The CDC and IDPH look at the combination of three metrics to determine whether a community level of risk for COVID-19 is low, medium, or high. They are: 1) the total number of new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people in the last 7 days; 2) the new COVID-19 hospital admissions per 100,000 in the last 7 days; and 3) the percent of staffed inpatient hospital beds occupied by COVID-19 patients. [1]

The City of Evanston reported this evening, June 2, that Evanston is in the medium risk category. While the number of new COVID-19 cases exceeded the number required to be put in the high risk level, the City’s Health and Human Services Department reported that the number of hospitalizations of Evanston residents was low and the percent of inpatient hospital beds being used for COVID-19 patients was also low.

CDC and IDPH reported, however, that Cook County, including Chicago, is the high risk category.

The CDC and IDPH recommend the following measures for people in areas that are rated at a high community Level for COVID-19 transmission:

  • Wear a well-fitting maskindoors in public, regardless of vaccination status (including in K-12 schools and other indoor community settings)
  • If you are immunocompromised or high risk for severe disease
    • Wear a mask or respirator that provides you with greater protection
    • Consider avoiding non-essential indoor activities in public where you could be exposed
    • Talk to your healthcare provider about whether you need to take other precautions
    • Have a plan for rapid testing if needed (e.g., having home tests or access to testing)
    • IF YOU TEST POSITIVE: Talk to your healthcare provider about whether you are a candidate for treatments like oral antivirals, and monoclonal antibodies
  • If you have household or social contact with someone at high risk for severe disease
    • consider self-testing to detect infection before contact
    • 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

At all levels, people can 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.

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. 

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/science/science-briefs/indicators-monitoring-community-levels.html

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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  1. I noticed that Northshore Glenview was no longer included in Evanston’s hospitalization numbers for the first time ever. That hospital has traditionally been the “Covid Hospital” where those that need hospitalization for Covid from the North Shore network (including Evanston) are routed for treatment. The exclusion of that hospital from the statistics can “tweak” our numbers to reduce us from a “high” status to a “medium” status. Perhaps we should ask the Evanston Health Department why this hospital has been removed from our statistics, and whether or not we have proper statistics for the hospitalization of Evanston residents.