Coronavirus

State confirms two more McHenry County schools with COVID-19 outbreaks

McHenry County reported 80 new cases of COVID-19 Tuesday

Two more McHenry County schools have reported COVID-19 outbreaks, according to new data released Tuesday by the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Marian Central Catholic High School reported an outbreak on Oct. 20 involving fewer than five students in an outbreak related to sports. Martin Elementary School in Lake in the Hills, part of Huntley School District 158, reported two outbreaks in the last week to the IDPH, one on Oct. 20 and a second on Monday.

Both outbreaks at Martin involved fewer than five students and traced back to classroom spread. The school had six cases of COVID-19 as of Tuesday, according to District 158′s dashboard. Martin now has seen three outbreaks of COVID-19 this school year, with first coming on Aug. 23.

Representatives from District 158 and Marian Central could not be reached Tuesday.

The IDPH also shared updated information on two previously reported outbreaks at McHenry County schools. An outbreak at Greenwood Elementary School on Sept. 14 involves less than five students and staff members and the source of spread was on the bus. An outbreak at Heineman Middle School in Algonquin that was reported on Sept. 28 has now increased to eight students involved.

Other outbreaks reported within the last 30 days include Edgebrook Elementary School in McHenry, Mackeben Elementary in Algonquin, Marengo Community High School and Woods Creek Elementary School in Crystal Lake, according to the IDPH.

Last week IDPH updated their definition of a COVID-19 outbreak, increasing the number of people involved in the outbreak to three people from two.

The McHenry County Department of Health reported 80 new cases and one new deaths Tuesday, bringing the total number of cases in the county to 35,132, including 329 deaths and 32 deaths that likely were caused by COVID-19 but could not be confirmed.

The county health department is reviewing historical death data and has been reporting additional COVID-19 deaths that have occurred over the past few months. The last COVID-19 death reported of a McHenry County resident was Oct. 14, according to the health department’s dashboard.

The number of new cases over the previous seven days hit 130.97 per 100,000 residents Thursday, the most recent day for which data is available, according to the McHenry County Department of Health’s school metrics dashboard. That was down from more than 145 cases reported Oct. 4 but the sixth day in a row the number rose.

Under the thresholds set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the incidence rate – measured as the total number of new cases over seven days per 100,000 residents – marks a “high” degree of transmission of COVID-19.

For spread to meet the less severe category “substantial,” the incidence rate would need to fall below 100 new cases over seven days per 100,000 residents and remain there for a week, according to the county’s health department.

Both the CDC and McHenry County health department use the incidence rate and positivity rate to categorize COVID-19 transmission. When the two metrics do not fall within the same transmission risk category, the higher one is chosen, according to the county health department.

McHenry County’s COVID-19 test positivity rate rose to 2.8% Saturday, according to the county. The county has been within the low transmission range of zero percent to 4.9% since early September.

Region 9, which is made up of Lake and McHenry counties, remained at 2.2% Saturday, according to the IDPH.

As of Monday, an average of 866 vaccines a day were administered to McHenry County residents, up from 501 a day as of Oct. 14, according to the IDPH. However, state data shows that the number of McHenry County residents becoming fully vaccinated each day – on average, about 150 per day – has been relatively flat for about two weeks.

An additional 1,106 doses of COVID-19 vaccines were administered to McHenry County residents Monday, bringing the total number of doses administered in McHenry County to 367,080, the IDPH reported.

A total of 177,296 county residents, or an estimated 57.46% of McHenry County’s population, now are fully vaccinated, meaning they’ve received all doses recommended for the vaccine they were given.

Statewide, 15,343,270 vaccines have been administered, according to state data.

Across Illinois, 81.1% of those age 12 and older have received at least one dose of a vaccine against COVID-19, and 63.5% are fully vaccinated, the IDPH reported Tuesday. Those rates are 82.7% and 65.1% for people 18 and older and 96.9% and 79% for those 65 and older.

Intensive care unit availability across McHenry and Lake counties remained at 21% as of Monday, the IDPH reported.

Twice this summer, the ICU care availability in the two-county region fell below 20%, a threshold previously used by the state during the COVID-19 pandemic as a trigger point for implementing more strict health mitigations on regions, something that hadn’t occurred during either last year’s fall peak of coronavirus cases or the more recent spring surge.

The number of people hospitalized because of COVID-19 in both counties fell to 77 Monday. The region saw the number of patients hospitalized decrease or remain stable nine of the past 10 days.

In McHenry County alone, 6.2% of medical and surgical beds and 28.5% of intensive care unit beds were available, according to the McHenry County health department. Hospitalizations have decreased or remained stable eight out of the past 10 days in McHenry County.

Statewide, the number of hospitalizations tied to COVID-19 increased Monday after several consecutive days of decreases to 1,230, the IDPH reported. Of those hospitalized Monday, 326 patients were in the ICU and 150 were on ventilators.

The IDPH reported 2,213 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 Tuesday. Another 34 deaths also were logged Tuesday, bringing the totals to 1,688,261 cases, 25,682 confirmed deaths and 2,835 probable deaths.

Neighboring Lake County’s health department reported a total of 72,626 cases and 1,094 deaths as of Tuesday, and to the south, Kane County’s health department reported a total of 68,778 cases and 880 deaths as of Tuesday.

Among McHenry County ZIP codes, Crystal Lake (60014) has the highest number of COVID-19 cases with a total of 5,418 confirmed cases, according to county data. Woodstock (60098) follows with 3,998 cases.

The McHenry County health department reports ZIP code data only for parts within McHenry County, a department spokeswoman said. Any discrepancies between county and IDPH numbers likely are because of the data’s provisional nature and because each health department finalizes its data at different times, she said.

The following is the rest of the local breakdown of cases by ZIP code: McHenry (60050) 3,789; Lake in the Hills (60156) 3,247; Huntley (60142) 2,654; Algonquin (60102) 2,533; Cary (60013) 2,411; Johnsburg and McHenry (60051) 2,410; Harvard (60033) 1,819; Marengo (60152) 1,419; Crystal Lake, Bull Valley and Prairie Grove (60012) 1,198; Wonder Lake (60097) 1,161; Spring Grove (60081) 906; Island Lake (60042) 500; Fox River Grove (60021) 455; Richmond (60071) 397; Hebron (60034) 217; Barrington (60010) 186; Union (60180) 161; and Ringwood and Wonder Lake (60072) 92.

Ben Szalinski

Ben Szalinski

Ben reports on local news in Harvard, Marengo, Huntley and Lake in the Hills along with the McHenry County Board. He graduated from the University of Illinois Springfield Public Affairs Reporting program in 2021. Ben is originally from Mundelein and enjoys outdoor activities and spending time with friends and family.