The Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office Friday reported that more than 14,000 county residents now have died of COVID-19 — that’s a thousand more deaths than were reported just over two weeks ago.

But new COVID cases numbers for the City of Evanston and local schools are declining from peaks reached earlier this month.

It took six weeks for the Cook County death toll to increase from 12,000 to 13,000 and more than three-and-a-half months to go from 11,000 to 12,000 deaths — showing the impact of the recent omicron variant surge on pandemic fatality rates.

The Medical Examiner’s Office says 43.5% of those who’ve died in the county during the pandemic from COVID-19 were were non-Hispanic whites, 30% were non-Hispanic Blacks, 20% were Hispanics and and 3.7% were Asian.

More than 80% of the victims were over 60 years old.

The City of Evanston, which as of 4:30 p.m. Friday had only released COVID numbers through Thursday, has seen a decline in new cases in recent days.

The most recent COVID death in the city’s was reported last Saturday, and the death toll here now stands at 130.

COVID cases at Northwestern University have declined dramatically over the past two weeks, with 175 student cases reported in the week ending Thursday, compared to 790 two weeks earlier.

Friday figures from School District 65 appeared to be somewhat incomplete as of 4:30 p.m., but still appeared to show a substantial decline in new cases.

Evanston Township High School on Friday also reported a dramatic drop in new COVID cases.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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