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COVID-19 update as of Sept. 8, Cook County stays in ‘medium’ community risk level, Evanston in the ‘low’ risk level

The total number of new cases of COVID-19 in Evanston was 51 for the week ending Sept. 7, compared to 42 for the week ending Sept. 1, an increase of 21%. The seven-day average of new cases in the State decreased by 2.6%; hospitalizations increased by 4%.

Cook County, including Chicago, remains in the “medium” community risk level. City officials say Evanston is in the “low” 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. [1] Some researchers estimate that the actual number of new cases is between six and ten times higher than the number being reported.

New Boosters Available in Illinois

The redesigned booster vaccines approved last week by the Food and Drug Administration are available this week at pharmacies throughout the State. The new booster vaccines are designed to provide better protection against subvariants BA.4 and BA.5 of the COVID-19 virus. The Illinois Department of Public Health reported today that 88% of the new COVID-19 cases in Illinois are due to the BA.5 subvariant.

“I urge everyone in Illinois who is eligible to take advantage of the opportunity to get fully protected before we enter the fall season,” said IDPH Director Dr. Sameer Vohra. “These new bivalent vaccines are designed to offer extra protection against the omicron variants which are now the dominant strain of the virus. Getting up to date now is especially important for those who are at risk of serious outcomes as the updated vaccines offer protection from hospitalization and even death.”

The Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine, Bivalent, is authorized for use as a single booster dose in individuals 18 years of age and older. The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine, Bivalent, is authorized for use as a single booster dose in individuals 12 years of age and older.

Trends of New Cases in Illinois and Evanston

Illinois: The seven-day average of new cases in Illinois on Sept. 8 was 2,982, up from 3,625 on Sept. 1, a 19% increase. The chart below shows the trend.

Evanston: There was a total of 51 new COVID-19 cases of Evanston residents in the week ending Sept. 7, compared to 42 new cases in the week ending Sept. 1, a 21% increase. (Evanston is reporting COVID-19 data with a one-day delay.)

The chart below shows the trend.

No Evanstonian died due to COVID-19 during the week ending Sept. 7. The number of deaths due to COVID-19 remains at 155.

Northwestern University. The latest data reported on NU’s website is that between Aug. 26 and Sept. 1, there were 53 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 164 in the seven days ending Sept. 8. The number was 115 for Chicago, and 140 for Suburban Cook County.

As of Sept. 7, the weekly number of new cases per 100,000 people in Evanston was 69. An accompanying chart shows the trend.

hospitalizations

There were 1,322 hospitalizations in Illinois due to COVID-19 on Sept. 7, compared to 1,288 one week ago, an increase of 2.6%.

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.

Cook County is in the Medium Risk Level, Evanston the Low

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. [2]

The City of Evanston reported this evening, Sept. 8, that Evanston is in the low risk category. IDPH reports today that Cook County, including Chicago, remains in the middle risk category.

Evanston has fewer than 200 new cases per 100,000 people, and the City reported this evening that the City has a 7-day total of 3.84 new hospital admissions per 100,000 people, and that it has 3.54% staffed inpatient hospital beds that are occupied by COVID patients (using a 7-day average). These numbers put Evanston in the low risk category.

On Aug. 11, the CDC issued new steps that people should take to minimize the risk of contracting COVID-19 and to reduce the spread. There are six steps that apply to all community risk levels, another two for people in medium and high community risk areas, and two more for people in high community risk areas. The steps are:

At all COVID-19 community levels:

When the COVID-19 Community Level is Medium or High:

  • If you are at high risk of getting very sick, wear a well-fitting mask or respirator when indoors in public.
  • If you have household or social contact with someone at high risk for getting very sick, consider testing to detect infection before contact and consider wearing a mask when indoors with them.

When the COVID-19 Community Level is High:

  • Wear a well-fitting mask or respirator.
  • If you are at high risk of getting very sick, consider avoiding non-essential indoor activities in public where you could be exposed.

FOOTNOTES

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 and IDPH use 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

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