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.
“After February 28, even with a change in local mitigation, masks will continue to be required where required by the state and the federal government, such as on public transportation and in high-risk environments, including health facilities and community care.”
The city also made it clear that “Mask and vaccination mandates are still in force at this time … [and] Until the restrictions are changed, the Evanston Health & Human Services Department will continue to impose universal masking on indoor public places and vaccination requirements for covered devices as part of a layered strategy to control the spread of the virus. “
The city also said: “Masks are still required in schools at this time: The state of Illinois continues to impose masks in all public and private Pre-K-12 schools that are not part of a pending lawsuit, and the city has not yet decided , whether it will continue or end its mandate. “
On February 11, School District 65 Superintendent Devon Horton announced that students would not be required to wear masks outdoors, with some exceptions. However, students will be required to wear masks indoors, except when eating.
Trends for new cases in Illinois and Evanston
Illinois: On February 17, the number of new cases in the state was 2,538 compared to 5,419 on February 10th.
The seven-day average of new cases in Illinois on February 17 was 3,289 compared to 5,716 on February 10, a decrease of 42%. The seven-day average is about 9% of what it was at the peak on January 12th. An accompanying chart shows the trend since October 28th.
IDPH estimates that 88% of the new cases are due to the Omicron variant and the 12% Delta variant.
Evanston: Evanston reported that there were 18 new COVID-19 cases of Evanston residents on February 16th. (Evanston reports COVID-19 data one day late).
There were a total of 122 new COVID-19 cases of Evanston residents in the week ending February 16, compared to 152 new cases in the seven days ending February 10.
The seven-day average for new cases was 17.4 for the week ending February 16, compared to 22.7 for the week ending February 10. An accompanying diagram shows the trend.
Two Evanstonians died due to COVID-19 in the week ending February 16th. The death toll from COVID-19 is 143.
Cases on D65 and ETHS: School District 65’s COVID-19 dashboard reports that in the seven days ending February 15, a total of 24 students and 3 staff tested positive for COVID-19.
ETHS reports on its dashboard that during the seven-day period ending Feb. 14, 15 students and 4 staff tested positive for COVID-19.
The data do not reflect whether students and staff contracted the virus while in school.
The Impact of Northwestern University. The latest data reported on NU’s website is that between 4 February and 10 February, there were 123 new COVID-19 cases of faculty, staff or students. If the cases concern an Evanston resident, they are included in Evanston’s data for the relevant period. NOW updating its data tomorrow.
The level of risk for the spread of society
The weekly number of new cases per 100,000 people in Illinois dropped from 316 in the seven days ending Feb. 10 to 182 in the seven days ending Feb. 17.
Pr. February 16 was the weekly number of new cases per. 100,000 people in Evanston 165. For Cook County, the number was 143.
According to the CDC guidelines, an area is considered a “high transmission” area if it has more than 100 new weekly cases per day. 100,000 people. See footnote 2.
Test positivity rates: The last seven-day test positivity rates are as follows: Illinois – 3.3%; Chicago – 2.0%; Suburban Cook County – 2.9%; and Evanston – 0.96%.
The CDC and IDPH both say that if an area has a test positivity below 5.0%, it is considered to have a “low” transmission rate.
Pr. On February 17, 80.5% of Illinois residents 5 years of age and older had at least one dose of a vaccine, and 71.2% were fully vaccinated. Source: CDC and IDPH.
Data provided by IDPH indicate that only about 50.5% of the people in Illinois who are fully vaccinated have received the booster injection, which is considered important for increasing the effectiveness of the vaccines.
Pr. By February 2, 96.9% of Evanston residents aged 5 and older had received at least one dose of a vaccine; 86.9% were fully vaccinated. Source: City of Evanston.
Admissions of COVID patients continue to decline. In Illinois, the number of admissions of COVID patients dropped from 7,380 on January 12 to 1,611 on February 17.
In Suburban Cook County, the number of hospital admissions dropped from a seven-day average of 729 to 453 within the last 10 days. In Chicago, the number went from 620 to 379.
In Chicago and Suburban Cook County, the percentage of beds in intensive care units is 16%. IDPH says the desired minimum is 20%.
There were a total of 73 deaths due to COVId-19 in Illinois on February 17th. The average of seven days was 65 compared to 80 a week ago.
1 / The state moved to Phase 5 of the Restore Illinois Plan on June 11th. As of July 1, the Round Table has covered COVID-19 measurements once a week on Thursdays. Specifically, RoundTable presents two charts showing: 1) the trends in the number of new COVID-19 cases per year. 100,000 people in the last two seven-day periods for Evanston, Chicago, Suburban Cook County and the state. The chart also shows the weekly number of new cases for each region per. June 10 as a baseline to measure whether cases have increased since the transition to Phase 5; and 2) the latest 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 transfer risk. If we see an increase in new cases or in the test positivity rates, we will consider covering additional measurements.
We will also report the latest percentages of vaccinated individuals, 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 recommendations that everyone, including fully vaccinated people, wear a mask in a public indoor environment in areas with “significant” and “high transmission” of new COVID-19 cases. Areas with significant transfer are considered to be areas with between 50 and 99 cases per. 100,000 people over a 7-day period. Areas with high transmission are considered to be areas with more than 100 cases per 100,000 people over a 7-day period.
They also recommend universal indoor masking to all teachers, staff, students and visitors to K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status.
3 / On February 12, the CDC released a K-12 school operation strategy. As part of that strategy, the report states The CDC recommends the use of two measures to determine the level of transfer risk: 1) the total number of new cases per 100,000 people in the last 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, significant, or high. If the two indicators suggest different levels of risk, the CDC says the higher level of risk should be used. The table below, reprinted from the CDC report, provides the CDC indicators and thresholds for Community transmission of COVID-219.
The CDC’s guidelines are available here: Operational strategy for K-12 schools through step-by-step prevention | CDC
Cook County CDC COVID Data Tracker