COVID-19 reaches 'high' community risk level in Evanston
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EVANSTON, Ill. (CBS) — COVID-19 metrics have grown disturbing in north suburban Evanston, where the community risk has been elevated to the “high” level.

The Evanston Department of Health and Human Service reported 397 new COVID-19 cases over the last seven days – up from 305 the prior week.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention determines community risk level based on three metrics of which cases are only one. The metrics are number of new COVID-19 hospital admissions per 100,000 people over the past seven days, the percentage of staffed inpatient beds occupied by COVID-19 patients, and the total new number of COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people in the past seven days.

Based on those criteria, Evanston is now in the “high” risk category.

The City of Evanston is not presently reinstating a mask mandate, but the city’s Department of Health and Human Services says mask should be worn in public – regardless of vaccination status. Also advised are socializing outdoors and avoiding poorly-ventilated indoor settings, getting tested before a family and public event, staying up to date with COVID-19 vaccines and boosters, and following CDC isolation and quarantine recommendations.

“Evanstonians have done a wonderful job following health guidance for over two years and lives were saved because of it,” Evanston Mayor Daniel Biss said in a news release. “As COVID-19 cases begin to increase again, it’s important that we remain vigilant and continue to do our part to keep ourselves and our neighbors safe and healthy.”

In Chicago, the current daily average of COVID-19 cases is 1,001 – up 32 percent from the prior week. On Friday alone, the entire State of Illinois reported 8,411 new COVID-19 cases.

But on Friday afternoon, Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said the news isn’t all bad.

“We know that there is some more concern, but the good news is that most infections – most cases here in Chicago – are not turning into hospitalizations like they did at levels similar to this in prior surges,” Arwady said. “That’s because of vaccines and boosters. It’s also because of the access to our early treatments that now are available that we didn’t have even six months ago.

Chicago and suburban Cook County are at a “medium” COVID-19 risk level. Suburban Cook County for these purposes excludes Evanston, Skokie, Oak Park, and Stickney Township, which each have their own health departments.

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