City COVID-19 positivity rate rises, eligible individuals can receive a second booster shot


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, Creative Director

Since Evanston lifted its mask and vaccine mandate Feb. 28 and the omicron subvariant BA.2  became widespread, the city’s COVID-19 positivity rate has been steadily trending upward for three weeks. 

It increased 0.75 percentage points in the last month, reaching 1.14% as of Thursday. The positivity rate hit its lowest point of the omicron wave at 0.39% on March 10.

While the positivity rate has been increasing, the seven-day average number of COVID-19 tests conducted has been declining in the same timeframe.

The city reported 69 cases this week — a 19.8% reduction from last week’s 86 cases. 

Cook County and Illinois positivity rates have also been steadily rising, but at a slower rate. The county’s test positivity rate this week rose to 1.5% compared to last week’s 1.3%. The state saw a similar percentage point rise to 1.7%, up from last week’s 1.5%.

Weekly vaccination rates in the city have remained relatively static. This week, there was a 0.1 percentage point decrease — down to 97.1% — of residents ages five and older who received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

In this age group, 87.7% of residents are fully vaccinated, which is a 0.1 percentage point increase from last week. 

Vaccination rates at the county and state level minimally increased this week. In Cook County, 78.9% of individuals ages five and older have now received at least one dose. In this population, almost 72% are fully vaccinated. At the state level, 80.7% of individuals in this same age group have received at least one dose — a 0.1% decrease since March 4 — and 71.7% have received both doses, holding steady from last week.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Tuesday that those who are over 50 years old or immunocompromised are eligible for a second booster shot four months after their first one.

Individuals who received a Johnson & Johnson booster shot at least four months ago are also now eligible for an additional booster shot. With the CDC’s “mix-and-match” guidelines, individuals can receive a booster shot from a manufacturer different from that of their primary series vaccination shots.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @amittal27

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