COVID-19 cases in Evanston are running at near record levels this week and area hospitals are reporting an increasing number of children being hospitalized with the disease.

The Evanston Health Department reported 132 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday and 134 on Tuesday. That’s less than the recent peak of 160 cases reached on Dec. 23, but still up dramatically from the numbers in early December.

The seven-day rolling average of new cases in Evanston currently stands at 95.6, compared to 112.9 a week ago.

Evonne Woloshyn, a spokesperson for Advocate Children’s Hospital, told Evanston Now’s Jeff Hirsh Wednesday that 33 children are now inpatients at the hospital’s two campuses in Park Ridge and Oak Lawn “the highest number that we have seen since the pandemic began.”

A month ago the Advocate had just six children hospitalized with COVID.

At Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago, Dr. Larry Kociolek told CNN Wednesday that 40 children a week are being hospitalized there now with the surge in the Omicron variant of the virus, compared to only six a week during the Delta surge.

But Kociolek say so far the number of children who need to be placed in the intensive care unit has not increased — the new cases so far seem on average to be less severe.

Woloshyn at Advocate says most of the children hospitalized are not vaccinated. “We want to continue to encourage parents to get their children, ages 5 and up, vaccinated. Teens between the ages of 16-18 should get the booster too.”

Evanston health officials report that 93.1% of Evanston residents 5-years-old and up have received at least one vaccine dose and 84% are fully vaccinated, although that measure does not included boosters in the definition of fully vaccinated.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.