COVID-19 update January 20: 58 new cases in Evanston on January 19; 23,246 in the state on Jan. 20
Over the past week, the number of new COVID-19 cases in Evanston has fallen, according to the city, which is now reporting the data with a one-day delay. School District 65 and Evanston Township High School continue to report many new cases. New cases and hospitalizations have declined significantly in Chicago, Suburban Cook County and the state, raising hopes the recent spike may have peaked.
Last week, IDPH reported that hospital admissions due to COVID-19 were higher than at any other point in the pandemic. According to IDPH, 90% of people hospitalized with COVID-10 were unvaccinated.
Governor JB Pritzker said yesterday, January 19: “You don’t know when a flood has peaked until you’re on the other side of it. Today is our seventh day since 7,380 hospitalizations were reported on January 13th.
“Let me be clear, I’m cautiously optimistic about this drop, but there are still a great many people fighting for their lives in hospitals across Illinois.”
dr Ngozi Ezike, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, said yesterday hospital admissions are “decreasing” but the “numbers are still high. … The good news is that the trend is down.”
While the number of new COVID-19 cases is still very high, Dr. Ezike that more than 50% of all COVID tests are now done at home and new cases are not reported to IDPH. Hospitalizations, she said, are the best indicator of how the state is doing.
dr Ezike said the IDPH and governor’s staff are monitoring downtrends and would make updates to masking guidelines in the future if current trends continue. She said readily available vaccines and upcoming therapeutics would allow Illinois to pivot to “coexist with the virus.”
“We are still in a time of tremendous strain on our healthcare systems,” Gov. Pritzker said. “As such, we must do everything in our power to keep our healthcare workers and facilities operational and available to anyone who may need medical assistance.”
Trends in new cases in Illinois and Evanston
Illinois: On January 20, the number of new cases in the state was 23,246, compared to 37,048 on January 13, a 37% decrease.
The seven-day average of new cases in Illinois on Jan. 20 was 24,674, compared with 31,495 on Jan. 13, a 22% decrease. An accompanying chart shows the trend since October 28th.
IDPH estimates that 85% of new cases are due to the Omicron variant and 15% to the Delta variant. According to several studies, the omicron variant appears to cause less serious diseases.
Evanston: Evanston reported that as of January 19, there were 58 new COVID-19 cases from Evanston residents. (Evanston is now reporting case updates a day late.)
In the week ended Jan. 19, there were a total of 740 new COVID-19 cases among Evanston residents, compared to 894 new cases in the seven days ended Jan. 13. The seven-day average of new cases was 105.7 for the week ended January 19, compared to 127.7 for the week ended January 13. The graphic below shows the trend.
There have been a total of 9,809 COVID-19 cases from Evanston residents during the pandemic, of which 101 are active.
An Evanstonian died of COVID-19 on January 15. The number of deaths due to COVID-19 is 130.
Cases at D65 and ETHS: The School District 65 COVID-19 Dashboard reports that in the seven days ended January 18, a total of 225 students and 31 staff members tested positive for COVID-19.
ETHS reports on its dashboard that in the seven days ended January 14, 311 students and 41 staff tested positive for COVID-19.
The data does not reflect whether the students and staff at the school contracted the virus.
Impact of Northwestern University. The latest data reported on the NU’s website says there were 686 new COVID-19 cases from faculty, staff or students between Jan. 7-13. If the cases involve an Evanston resident, they are included in Evanston’s data. NU will update its data tomorrow.
The level of risk of spread in the community
The weekly number of new cases per 100,000 people in Illinois fell from 1,740 in the seven days ended Jan. 13 to 1,363 in the seven days ended Jan. 20. The number of new cases per week in the state is now about 59 times higher than it was on June 10, the day before the state moved to Phase 5 of the Restore Illinois Plan.
On January 19, the weekly number of new cases per 100,000 in Evanston is 999. On January 20, the number of new cases per 100,000 in Chicago is 881 and for Suburban Cook County is 1,071. The graph at the beginning of this article shows the trends.
According to CDC guidelines, an area is considered a “high transmission area” if there are more than 100 new weekly cases per 100,000 population. See footnote 2. Illinois, Chicago, Suburban Cook County, and Evanston are all well above this threshold. Evanston is about 10 times higher than the threshold.
Test Positivity Rates: The most recent 7-day test positivity rates are as follows: Illinois – 14.8%; Chicago – 11.9%; Cook County Suburb – 12.9%; and Evanston – 4.6%. These rates have each been down for a week.
The rates for Illinois, Chicago, and suburban Cook County all indicate that many cases go undetected and that the risk of spread is very high. The CDC and IDPH both say that a test positivity rate of over 10% indicates an area is a “high transmission” area.
As of January 20, 79.2% of Illinois residents age 5 years and older had at least one dose of a vaccine and 69.6% were fully vaccinated. These percentages are increasing very, very slowly and include people who live in Illinois and have been vaccinated in Illinois or in other states. Source CDC and IDPH.
Data provided by IDPH shows that only about 46.6% of people in Illinois who are fully vaccinated have received the booster shot, which is considered important to boost the vaccines’ effectiveness, particularly with respect to the Omicron variant .
As of January 19, 95.4% of Evanston residents age 5 and older had received at least one dose of a vaccine; 85.3% were fully vaccinated. Source town of Evanston.
Bed use in the intensive care unit
Hospital admissions of COVID patients are declining. In Suburban Cook County, hospitalizations rose to 1,708 in the past 10 days from a seven-day average of 1,942. In Chicago, the number rose from 1,733 to 1,572.
In Chicago and Suburban Cook County, the percentage of available ICU beds is only 10%. IDPH said the desired minimum is 20%. As of January 20, Chicago and Suburban Cook County had a total of 158 ICU beds available.
As of Jan. 20, Illinois had a total of 198 deaths from COVID-19, the third-highest in the entire pandemic. The seven-day average was 109, compared to 98 a week ago.
1/ The state transitioned into Phase 5 of the Restore Illinois Plan on June 11th. Since July 1, the RoundTable has been covering key figures on COVID-19 once a week on Thursdays. Specifically, the RoundTable presents two charts that show: 1) the trends in the number of new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people in two most recent 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 as of June 10 as a baseline to estimate whether cases are increasing since moving to Phase 5; and 2) the most recent test positivity rates for those areas.
As discussed in footnote 3 below, the CDC recommends that these two measures be used to determine transmission risk. If we see an increase in new cases or in test positivity rates, we will consider covering additional metrics.
We will also report the most recent percentages of vaccinated persons age 12 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 recommending that everyone, including fully vaccinated people, should wear a mask in an indoor public setting in areas with “significant” and “high transmission” of new COVID-19 cases. Areas of significant transmission are defined as areas with between 50 and 99 cases per 100,000 population over a 7-day period. Areas of high transmission are defined as areas with more than 100 cases per 100,000 population over a 7-day period.
They also recommend universal indoor masking for 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 operations strategy. As part of this strategy, the CDC recommends using two measures to determine transmission risk, according to the report: 1) the total number of new cases per 100,000 people over the past 7 days; and 2) the percentage of COVID tests in the past 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, CDC says the higher level of risk should be used. The following table, reprinted from the CDC report, provides the CDC’s indicators and thresholds for community transmission of COVID-219.
The CDC’s guidelines are available here: Operational Strategy for K-12 Schools Through Incremental Prevention | CDC
Cook County CDC COVID data tracker