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The total number of new cases of COVID-19 in Evanston was 226 for the week ending July 6, compared to 228 for the week ending June 30. The number of new cases in the state decreased by about 9%. Hospitalizations in the state, however, increased by 10%.
Cook County, including Chicago, is ranked in the “high” community risk level. City officials say Evanston is in the “medium” risk level.
The number of new cases being reported is significantly lower than the actual number of new cases being contracted because many new cases are not being reported.  Some researchers estimate the actual number of new cases is between six and 10 times higher than the number being reported.
FDA asks for modified vaccines
On June 28, an advisory committee of the Food and Drug Administration recommended that the COVID-19 booster shots be modified to target the Omicron variant or one of its subvariants, in addition to the original version of COVID-19.
Following that recommendation, the FDA advised drug manufacturers to develop modified vaccines that would be a combination of the existing vaccine and also address the BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants of the Omicron variant. The BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants now account for more than 50% of new cases in the United States.
Dr. Peter Marks, Director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, said the modified vaccines could potentially be available starting in early to mid-fall 2022.
“Currently available vaccines have helped reduce the most serious outcomes (hospitalization and death) caused by COVID-19, but results from post-authorization observational studies have shown that effectiveness of primary vaccination wanes over time against certain variants, including omicron,” said Marks in a prepared statement. “And while initial booster doses have helped restore protection against severe disease and hospitalization associated with omicron, studies have also indicated waning effectiveness of first booster doses over time.
“As we move into the fall and winter, it is critical that we have safe and effective vaccine boosters that can provide protection against circulating and emerging variants to prevent the most severe consequences of COVID-19.”
Marks added that the FDA had been anticipating vaccines would need to be modified to address variants and that it had “previously provided guidance to industry on how to do so efficiently.” He said the FDA “will evaluate all relevant data to inform the safety, effectiveness and manufacturing quality of modified vaccines under consideration for authorization or approval to ensure that they meet the FDA’s standards.”
Trends of new cases in Illinois, Evanston
Illinois: On July 7 the number of new cases in the state was 5,796.
The seven-day average of new cases in Illinois on July 7 was 3,815 down from 4,175 on June 30, a 9% decrease. The chart below shows the trend.
Evanston: Evanston reported there were 36 new COVID-19 cases of Evanston residents on July 6. (Evanston is reporting COVID-19 data with a one-day delay.)
There was a total of 226 new COVID-19 cases of Evanston residents in the week ending July 6, compared to 228 new cases in the week ending June 30. The chart below shows the trend.
No Evanstonian died due to COVID-19 during the week ending July 6. The total number of Evanstonian deaths due to COVID-19 remains at 152.
Northwestern University: The latest data reported on NU’s website is that between June 24 and June 30 there were 121 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 210 in the seven days ending July 7.
As of July 6, the weekly number of new cases per 100,000 people in Evanston was 305. As of July 7, the number was 176 for Chicago and 220 for suburban Cook County. An accompanying chart shows the trend.
There were 1,291 hospitalizations in Illinois due to COVID-19 on July 6, about 10% more than one week ago.
The chart below, prepared by the City of Evanston, shows the trends in hospitalizations due to COVID-19 at the closest two hospitals serving Evanston residents.
County, Evanston risk levels
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Illinois Department of Public Health 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 the total number of new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people in the last seven days, new COVID-19 hospital admissions per 100,000 in the last seven days and the percent of staffed inpatient hospital beds occupied by COVID-19 patients. 
The City of Evanston reported July 7 that Evanston is in the medium risk category. IDPH reported that Cook County, including Chicago, is in the high risk category. Lake, DuPage, and Will counties are also in the high risk category.
While Evanston has more than 200 new cases per 100,000 people, the city reported this evening that it has a seven-day total of 7.68 new hospital admissions per 100,000 people and 3.12% staffed inpatient hospital beds that are occupied by COVID patients (using a seven-day average).
The city has not said which hospitals or how many hospitals it is considering in making its analysis of community risk.
The CDC and IDPH recommend that people in a community with a high transmission rate should take the following precautions:
- “Wear a well-fitting mask indoors 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 (e.g., testing); have a plan for rapid testing if needed (e.g., having home tests or access to testing); talk to your healthcare provider about whether you are a candidate for treatments like oral antivirals, PrEP, 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, 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.”
1/The City of Evanston says that the state, the county and the city do not have a mechanism to report, verify or track at-home test results. Because a positive at-home test is regarded as highly accurate, most people who test positive in an at-home test do not get a second test outside the home that is reported to government officials. The number of new COVID-19 cases reported by IDPH and the city thus significantly understates the actual number of new cases that are contracted. Some studies estimate the cases are underestimated by 600% or more.
2/ 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 seven days; 2) new COVID-19 hospital admissions per 100,000 population in the last seven days; and 3) the percent of staffed inpatient beds occupied by patients with confirmed COVID-19 (seven-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.