Daily file photo by Hank Yang
Evanston saw a one-third increase in new COVID-19 cases this week compared to last, accounting for almost 10% of total confirmed cases in the city since March 2020.
In the last seven days, the city saw a decreasing trend in the number of daily cases. However, Evanston reported 273 new cases Thursday, which is over four and a half times more than reported the previous day at 57.
An average of 128 positive cases were reported per day this week compared to last week’s 95. The average seven-day positivity rate among residents decreased slightly to 6.02% compared to last week’s 6.89%, a declining trend from the last month.
The seven-day average test positivity rate this week in Illinois has also been declining, reaching 16.2% this week.
As of Thursday, 94.6% of Evanston residents ages 5 and older have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, which represents a 0.8% increase from last week. Fully vaccinated individuals account for 84.8% of residents in this age group.
In Illinois, 78.3% of individuals ages 5 and older have received at least one dose — a 1% increase from last week — and 69.1% are fully vaccinated. In Cook County, these percentages are 75.5% and 67.7%, respectively.
The Illinois Department of Public Health shifted contact tracing efforts Thursday from local health departments to a centralized statewide approach with the Surge Contact Tracing Call Center. This consolidated system aims to relieve stress on local systems as COVID-19 cases rise. Residents who test positive will receive a text or phone call from the IDPH.
Evanton will still manage contact tracing efforts in congregate living facilities, schools and daycare centers. Restaurants, fitness facilities and entertainment venues in the city are required to ask individuals ages 5 and older for proof of vaccination as of Monday.
Residents ages 18 and younger may be exempt from the requirement if they participate in athletic or recreational activities in facilities that do not offer food and drinks.
At the national level, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention expanded COVID-19 booster shot eligibility to individuals ages 12 to 15 as of Jan. 5.
Those who completed their Pfizer primary series vaccination at least five months ago are eligible for a booster shot, per the CDC’s Jan. 4 guidance. The same recommendation was made Jan. 7 for individuals whose Moderna primary series vaccination occurred at least five months ago.
In accordance with the Jan. 4 announcement, individuals ages 12 to 17 are also eligible to receive a booster five months after primary series vaccination. Those 18 and older whose primary vaccination series was Pfizer or Moderna can “mix-and-match” their booster shot, allowing them to receive a different vaccine type as authorized by the CDC.
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