As we near the start of the Christmas season and the final section of 2021, I would like to take a moment to update you on the COVID-19 situation in Evanston and provide public health recommendations for safer celebrations.
I’ve heard cases are increasing in Illinois and across the country. What are the current trends in Evanston?
Since the end of July, Evanston’s seven-day moving average of daily confirmed cases has increased between about 5 and 15 new cases per day with no significant peaks or valleys. Cases are currently increasing in Illinois – and Evanston is not immune to this trend – so we must all continue to take preventative measures to reduce the spread. Still, there are a few reasons to be optimistic:
- A year ago, Evanston’s 7-day moving average of confirmed daily cases was 35. Today it’s 8.
- A year ago there were 180 local COVID-19 hospital admissions. Today there are 33.
- Notably, a year ago, 0 percent of Evanston residents were fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Today, 78 percent of residents aged 5 and over are fully vaccinated, and every day more – especially our youth – are receiving the vaccine.
Although we continue to see new COVID-19 cases most days, hospital admissions have remained well below pandemic peaks, and vaccinations remain highly effective in preventing serious illness (or worse) from the disease. Which leads to the next question …
What is the current status of Evanston’s vaccination campaign?
The city is currently focusing its efforts on vaccination:
- Children aged 5 to 11who recently received approval to receive the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine. As of Monday, approximately 39 percent of Evanston children ages 5-11 got their first dose.
- Persons aged 18 and over who are suitable for booster doses. Booster doses help increase protection for eligible individuals as early data shows that the vaccine’s effectiveness against COVID-19 infections may decrease over time.
New: Only today did the FDA approve Pfizer BioNTech and Moderna booster syringes for all adults aged 18 and over. Following this decision, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is now recommending a booster vaccination for anyone aged 18 or over six months after receiving their second Moderna or Pfizer vaccination, or two months after receiving the Johnson & Johnson single-dose vaccination.
Get Your Shot: Regardless of whether you are eligible for a booster dose or need a first dose for yourself or your child, visit vaccines.gov to find a vaccination appointment near you.
You can also complete the city’s vaccine booster survey if you’d like to receive the vaccine from the Evanston Health & Human Services Department or contact your doctor to schedule a vaccination appointment.
Do city workers need to be vaccinated?
I’m very excited to announce that the city has agreements with all four of its workers’ unions on the city’s mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy, which requires all employees to be fully vaccinated or negative test results to health and safety on a weekly basis City Health Department submit services department. City workers have been central to our community’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic while ensuring the continuity of the critical services we all depend on. I really appreciate them for taking this extra step to make our community safer.
With all the advances in vaccines, when can we stop wearing masks in indoor public spaces?
Mask requirements remain in place for all individuals aged two and over, regardless of vaccination status, in all indoor public facilities in Evanston and across Illinois. Governor Pritzker and the IDPH continue to closely monitor statewide metrics, but as cases and hospital admissions increase in Illinois, the mask mandate is likely to stay in place, at least during the holiday season.
Is it safe to meet up with family and friends over the holidays? If so, what precautions should we take?
There is some risk in everything we do, including meeting friends and family, but we can greatly reduce the risk of social gatherings if all guests are vaccinated and we follow some vacation safety guidelines, including:
- Get vaccinated and encourage your friends and family members to do the same. This is the most important thing you can do to protect yourself and others.
- If you are entitled to a booster vaccination, get it before you travel or attend meetings.
- Get tested for COVID-19 if you work in a high risk environment or have been exposed to someone with COVID-19. See the IDPH directory of test sites.
- Hold meetings outdoors whenever possible. Make sure the indoor spaces are well ventilated and allow for social distancing.
- Wear close-fitting face covering in public indoor spaces, even if you are fully vaccinated. Also, consider wearing face covering during holidays, especially if not all guests are vaccinated.
- Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly.
- Stay home when you are sick!
With COVID-19 still present, any layer of protection we add (vaccination, ventilation, masking, distancing, hygiene) will help reduce the spread.
I am grateful that our community took this pandemic seriously from day one and that we worked together to support and protect one another. Whatever your plans, I wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving and a safe and healthy Christmas season.
Mayor, Evanston City
This press release was produced by the City of Evanston. The views expressed here are your own.