Local officials hope falling COVID numbers will signal the peak of the surge; Cases in New Trier are reported to decrease by 80% in a week
After the number of cases hit pandemic highs in the past two weeks, the latest wave of COVID-19 could subside.
On Tuesday, January 12, the seven-day positivity rate in the New Trier Township parishes (Wilmette, Winnetka, Glencoe, Kenilworth, and Northfield) was 10 percent, a sharp drop from a high of 16.14 percent eight days previously, on January 1st. 4th
While the daily case numbers have increased over this period, they have leveled off this week from 163 new cases per day on January 9th to 150 new cases per day on Tuesday January 12th, although testing has continued to increase.
Cook County public health officials tweeted Thursday, Jan. 13 that falling positivity rates “may be evidence that Omicron is peaking”; However, the tweet also stated that COVID-19 hospital admissions are likely to continue to increase “in the coming weeks”.
This could be evidence that Omicron is peaking, especially in the southern suburbs, where rates are falling.
However, we expect the number of hospital admissions and deaths to lag and rise in the coming weeks.
Data here: https://t.co/1w1kjn8CK5 pic.twitter.com/qSAwViCHVz
– Cook County Department of Public Health (@CookCoHealth) January 13, 2022
Hospital stays continue to affect officials across the state as 7,380 pandemic-high COVID-19 patients occupy intensive care beds, according to Illinois Department of Health data Jan. 12. According to a New York Times tracker, 43 percent of ICU beds at Evanston Hospital are available, while none are open at Amita Health’s Saint Francis Hospital in Evanston.
Amita Health has not returned any messages from The Record.
In early January, amid the winter COVID surge, the county took additional measures for businesses and venues in the area requiring them to verify customers’ vaccination records. At this point, on January 3, the positivity rate across the county was 7.8 percent.
Dr. Rachel Rubin, Senior Medical Officer of the Health Department, said at the time: “We’re looking at the metrics very carefully and will reevaluate this order every week. … We need to take these steps, and our hospitals are very few and far between right now. We need to see improvements in these metrics. “
The current COVID cases in local schools have also decreased dramatically.
Many districts, including the New Trier Gymnasium D203, tested students and employees after the winter break and recorded a significant increase in COVID cases. New Trier, for example, had 371 reported cases among students and employees on January 7th. However, by Thursday, January 13, that number had dropped to 76.
Trier’s new deputy superintendent, Chris Johnson, told The Record that many people who tested positive for COVID-19 have quarantined the required five days and are asymptomatic.
Earlier this week, the Illinois Department of Health passed the CDC’s recommendations to reduce the number of days of quarantine for COVID cases from 10 to 5.
Johnson said students and staff who tested positive prior to their quarantine are not required to test negative to return to campus as long as they are symptom-free.
The overall attendance rate at New Trier High School after the first week after the winter break was 83 percent, Johnson said, adding that the number was typically in the low 90s before the pandemic.
Johnson also said teacher availability was not a major issue with “90 percent of the classes since the winter break have been taught by their regularly assigned teachers.”
“Obviously the climb was difficult for everything and felt all over the country, felt like all over Illinois,” said Johnson. “The hard work of our families and staff allowed us to continue in-person tuition and that was largely thanks to the extra work everyone did – families who followed the guidelines and all test students and staff did.
Local elementary school districts also tracked declines in COVID, with Wilmette District 39 rising from 73 to 54 cases in the first two weeks after the winter break and Winnetka D36 from more than 100 cases in the last week of December to fewer than 50 last week.
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