COVID-19 update per. February 17: If metrics continue to improve, the city plans to drop its mask and vaccine mandates
COVID-19 update per.  February 17: If metrics continue to improve, the city plans to drop its mask and vaccine mandates

COVID-19 update per. February 17: If metrics continue to improve, the city plans to drop its mask and vaccine mandates

New COVID cases in the state have fallen from a 7-day average of 32,501 on January 12 to a 7-day average of 3,299 on February 17, a fall of 90%. As illustrated in the chart above, new cases in Evanston have also dropped dramatically. Hospital admissions due to COVID have also shown significant decreases.

If the trend continues, Gov. JB Pritzker said he plans to end the state’s mask mandate on Feb. 28, with the exception of public transportation, health care, parish care, schools and some other neighborhoods.

Governor Pritzker said he would continue the mask mandate in schools, but his authority to impose a mask mandate and require students and staff to be quarantined is being considered by an appeals court, which can rule any day.

On February 14, the Illinois Department of Public Health passed an emergency rule that would have required masks in schools, but that rule was blocked on February 15 by the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules, a two-part legislative committee that must approve administrative rules before they enter in power.

Whether the state’s mask mandate for schools will survive is uncertain at present.

The city of Evanston has its own mask mandate and vaccination order in place. The city announced tonight, February 17, “In line with the state of Illinois and the Cook County Department of Public Health (CCDPH), the Evanston Health and Human Services Department (EHHS) expects that if leading COVID-19 measurements continue to improve through February, the city of Evanston vaccination (.pdf) and masking (.pdf) Orders may be revoked in accordance with Governor Pritzker’s time frame, which is expected to be Monday, February 28. “

The city said: “The measurements that EHHS monitors in connection with mask and vaccine mandates include:

  • Continuous improvement in the availability of hospital and intensive care units with fewer admissions for COVID-19
  • Reduced case numbers to a moderate level per CDC criteria (10-49.99 cases / 100,000 inhabitants) for an extended period
  • Decreased cases of positivity to a moderate level according to CDC criteria (5-7.99 percent) for a longer period

“EHHS will continue to monitor all measures that will be considered in the decision – making process and will provide an update next week. Not all measurements need to be in target to change current mitigations, but significant progress needs to be observed.

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