City COVID-19 positivity rate declines, new positive cases on the rise


Daily file illustration by Hank Yang

While the city’s moving average positivity rate is declining after reaching its highest — more than 10% Monday — there were more positive cases seen this week. The IDPH has also updated its quarantine and isolation guidelines and announced the availability of two COVID-19 antiviral medications in the state by the end of the month.

Angeli Mittal, Photo Editor

While Evanston saw more total cases this week compared to last week, the average COVID-19 positivity rate per day over the last seven days is declining.

In the last seven days, the city saw 663 new positive cases — a slight increase compared to last week’s 618 cases. There were an average of 95 positive cases reported per day in the last seven days, with the average positivity rate from the same time span being 6.89% compared to last week’s 8.12%. The moving average positivity rate reached its highest in the last month at more than 10% Monday but has been declining since.

Comparatively, the seven-day average test positivity rate in Illinois is 18.6%.

As of Thursday, 93.8% of Evanston residents ages 5 and older have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, with 84.4% of this population being fully vaccinated.

Throughout Illinois, 77.3% of individuals ages 5 and older have received at least one dose and 68.6% are fully vaccinated. In Cook County, these percentages are 74.49% and 67.27%, respectively. 

After the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provided guidelines for possible early release from isolation, the Illinois Department of Public Health updated its quarantine and isolation policy accordingly as of Dec. 30.

Individuals who test positive, regardless of vaccination status, may stop isolation after five days from the test result if they are asymptomatic or if they have not experienced a fever 24 hours before the fifth day.

Anyone identified as a close contact to someone who tested positive does not need to quarantine if they’ve completed their primary series vaccination and received a booster shot, if eligible. Otherwise, the individual should quarantine for five days. Regardless of vaccination status, if the individual starts experiencing symptoms, they should immediately quarantine until receiving a negative test result.

Starting Monday, Evanston restaurants, fitness facilities and entertainment venues will be required to ask individuals ages 5 and older for proof of vaccination. 

Residents ages 18 and under may be exempt from the requirement if they’re participating in athletic or recreational activities in facilities that do not offer food and drink throughout.

The IDPH also announced that two COVID-19 antiviral medications, Pfizer’s Paxlovid and Merck’s Molnupiravir will be available in Illinois by the end of January for individuals who test positive for COVID-19 and are at high risk of hospitalization or death.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @amittal27

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