City COVID-19 positivity rate reaches below 1%, free KN95 distribution to take place next week


Daily file illustration by Hank Yang

After lift of the mask and vaccine mandate at the end of February, the city’s positivity rate has been steadily rising and vaccination rates have either remained the same or declined.

Angeli Mittal, Photo Editor

The city’s COVID-19 positivity rate dropped below 1% this week as the number of positive cases also fell. 

The seven-day moving average positivity rate saw a more rapid decline this week, reaching 0.96% after last week’s 1.84%. This 0.88 percentage point deduction is nearly three times the reduction seen between the positivity rates of the two weeks prior. 

Evanston reported 122 new positive cases over the last seven days, a 34% reduction from last week’s 184 cases. 

For the last month, the city has seen case numbers decline weekly. However, the rapid decline seen between past weeks slowed down in the new batch of data.

Cook County and Illinois also saw declines in positivity rates. In Cook County, the test positivity this week was 6.1%, down only half a percentage point from last week. The state’s test positivity rate, however, saw a larger decline, reaching 3.3% compared to last week’s 5.8%.

Weekly vaccination rates in the city have continued to slowly increase as more people receive their vaccinations. As of Thursday, 96.9% of Evanston residents ages 5 and older have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, which is a 0.2 percentage point increase from last week. In that age group, 86.9% of residents are fully vaccinated.

Cook County did not see much change in its vaccination rates this week — 77.7% of individuals ages 5 and older have received at least one dose and 70.3% are fully vaccinated. 

The state saw only a 0.1 percentage point increase in this group to 80.5% and a 0.4 percentage point increase to 71.2% among individuals who are fully vaccinated. That represents a much smaller increase than the six percentage point surge of partially-vaccinated individuals between the last two weeks. 

The city will hold another KN95 mask distribution event Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.. Residents can pick up two free masks per household, while supplies last, at the following locations:

— Levy Senior Center, 300 Dodge Ave.

— Evanston Public Library, 1703 Orrington Ave.

— Fleetwood-Jourdain Community Center, 1655 Foster St.

— Evanston Police Department, 1454 Elmwood Ave.

If Evanston continues to see declining COVID-19 positive cases, the city intends to lift its vaccination and masking requirements in accordance with the state’s anticipated lift Feb. 28.

The city will provide an update on the protocol next week. If the city decides to lift mandates, individuals will not be required to wear masks in grocery stores or in restaurants. However, masks will still be required in schools, on public transportation services and in healthcare facilities, among other specified high-risk locations.

In national news, the Food and Drug Administration postponed its meeting to discuss a three-dose Pfizer primary vaccination series for children ages six months to four years, meaning vaccinations for the age group will not be approved until April at the earliest.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @amittal27

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