If a post-holiday COVID-19 surge is inevitable, it is not yet reflected in data provided by state and local officials.
While New Trier Township’s positivity rate has recently climbed to 6.2 percent (up from 3.5 percent on Dec. 28), it is currently the same number as it was on Dec. 16.
Over the two weeks since Christmas, Wilmette’s COVID-19 gains have slowed (-8 percent) since early December, while in the same timeframe, Winnetka new cases grew modestly at 5 percent, and Northfield (48%) and Glencoe (24%) at a more-significant rate, according to Cook County Public Health data.
Data from NorthShore University HealthSystems, with hospitals in Glenview and Evanston, shows hospitalizations are down, while positivity rates remain steady.
While the group’s Chief Medical Officer, Lakshmi Halasyamani, said it is too soon for conclusions, the early post-holiday numbers are a positive sign.
“There’s a steadiness in the numbers with no significant upticks,” she said in a video message to the community. “This is a reflection of safety practices all of you are adhering to.
“We haven’t yet (seen a holiday increase), but it’s a little bit too soon. If we expect to see any upticks, they should happen over the next couple weeks. … We never saw that Thanksgiving surge, which is a very positive thing, and we’re hopeful that same pattern will bear out.”
Since Dec. 16, The Record’s coverage area (Wilmette, Winnetka, Glencoe, Northfield and Kenilworth) has seen 329 new cases of COVID-19 and three coronavirus deaths: a 66-year-old man from Winnetka, a 77-year-old woman from Wilmette and an 83-year-old female from Wilmette, according to county records.
The COVID-19 totals in the coverage area are now 2,596 cases and 22 deaths.
In suburban Cook County, 182,895 cases of and 3,462 deaths from COVID-19 have been reported in total. The area’s test positivity is at 10.9 percent over the past week.
Vaccine distribution in the county remains in Phase 1A, which inoculates healthcare workers and residents and staff of long-term care facilities. Phase 1B consists of individuals over the age of 65, educators and other essential workers, but it is unclear how and when the phase will begin.
The county asks residents to sign up for vaccine updates here.
All of Illinois remains in Tier 3 mitigations, which restrict indoor dining, and recreation and limit gatherings to 10 people, among other measures; however, Gov. J.B. Pritzker provided some hope Wednesday, Jan. 6, saying that mitigations may be eased by Friday, Jan. 15, in regions that meet appropriate metrics.
Those metrics include a positivity rate under 12 percent for three straight days, more than 20 percent ICU-bed occupancy for seven days and reduced hospitalizations for 10 days.
New Trier Township is in Region 10, which has seen more than a week straight of sub-12 percent positivity, plus-20 percent ICU-bed availability and reduced hospitalizations.
Overall, as more and more individuals get tested this week, the state’s numbers are on the rise, with new cases nearly doubling from Jan. 2 (4,762) to Jan. 8 (9,277).
More than 900 Illinoisians have died from COVID-19 in the past seven days, and the state recently passed 1 million COVID-19 cases and has recorded 18,941 coronavirus deaths as of Friday, Jan. 8.
Charged by a continued virus surge in the southwest (California and Arizona), the United States eclipsed 4,000 COVID-19 deaths for the first time in a single day on Thursday, Jan. 7, breaking the record of 3,844 set one day before.