Evanston moves to “Medium” transmission level due to significant case rise, no longer reports COVID-19 positivity rate


Daily file illustration by Olivia Abeyta

Evanston has moved into a “Medium” transmission level due to the influx of positivity cases reported this week. Meanwhile, the city has halted its positive rate reporting due to lack of test data.

Angeli Mittal, Creative Director

Evanston has moved to a “Medium” transmission level due to a significant rise in new reported positive COVID-19 cases. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this transmission level is defined as having more than 200 total COVID-19 cases at one time per 100,000 residents. Currently, the city is reporting about 390 cases per 100,000 residents. 

This week, Evanston reported 305 new COVID-19 cases — 69% more than last week’s 210. The city will no longer report its positivity rate as the Illinois Department of Public Health will not be providing the number of tests conducted, a change that began last week. 

Test providers in Evanston are also no longer required to report negative results, Health and Human Services Director Ike Ogbo said in a statement to The Daily. The city will be following CDC community reporting metric guidelines from Feb. 25 — which emphasizes community hospitalization numbers rather than positivity rate and is in line with the state’s recent shift three weeks ago.

Since then, the city has seen a general trend upwards in its positivity rate, with the last reported rate being two weeks ago at 2.70%.

For the last three weeks, both positivity metrics have been rising, correlating with the increasing prevalence of omicron subvariant BA.2.12.1. 

While the city also reported a rise in local hospitalizations during this time frame, the rate at which it has been increasing is slower than that of the positivity metrics, according to its weekly newsletter. This week, the rate reached 3.73% and also meets the CDC’s “Medium” risk level. 

The rate of partially-vaccinated Evanston residents over age 5 decreased 0.1 percentage points this week to 97.3%, while the percentage of fully-vaccinated residents increased by 0.1 percentage points to 88.4%. 

Cook County and Illinois vaccination rates have been similarly stagnant this week. At the county level, the percentage of individuals ages 5 and older who have received at least one dose decreased slightly to 78.8%, while the percentage of fully-vaccinated individuals increased slightly to 72.4%. 

The vaccination rates at the state level also saw similar trends. 81.5% of individuals ages 5 and older have received at least one dose, while 73.1% have received both doses. 

Since Evanston will no longer be reporting positivity metrics due to lack of testing data from IDPH — amid stagnant vaccination rates — this will be The Daily’s last weekly city COVID-19 update. 

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @amittal27

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