Hospitalizations spiking in McHenry, Lake counties as COVID-19 positivity, incidence rates climb

McHenry County’s incidence rate – the number of new cases over seven days – has exceeded spring peaks

Hospitalization because of COVID-19 have spiked in recent days in McHenry and Lake counties, reaching numbers last seen a month ago, state data shows.

The average number of people hospitalized because of COVID-19 across both counties increased each of the past six days, hitting 86 Sunday, the Illinois Department of Public Health reported Monday.

Intensive care unit availability across McHenry and Lake counties, however, rose to 24% Sunday, the highest it’s been since Aug. 11, the IDPH reported.

Twice during the 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. This is something that hadn’t occurred during either last year’s fall peak of COVID-19 cases or the more recent spring surge.

In McHenry County alone, 4.2% of medical and surgical beds and 33.3% of intensive care unit beds were available, according to the seven-day rolling average reported by the local health department. Hospitalizations have decreased or remained stable six of the past 10 days in the county.

Statewide, the number of hospitalizations tied to COVID-19 rose Sunday to 1,601, the IDPH reported. Of those hospitalized Sunday, 323 patients were in the ICU and 139 were on ventilators.

The level of COVID-19 transmission in McHenry County remains high as the average number of new cases continues to skyrocket.

The incidence rate – measured as the number of new cases over seven days – reached 236.26 per 100,000 residents on Wednesday, the last date for which data is available, according to county health department data. The incidence rate has not been that high in the last 250 days, which is the entire period of time published by the county health department on its dashboard.

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 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 positivity rate as is 4.6% as of Friday, according to data from the McHenry County Department of Health. It’s been creeping upwards the past few days since dropping to 2.5% in late October.

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, saw its positivity rate rise increased to 3.5% Friday, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.

An additional 4,156 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine were administered to McHenry County residents since Friday, bringing the total number administered locally to 394,240, the IDPH reported Monday. The state reported 31,839 booster shots had been administered in McHenry County.

A total of 178,902 county residents, or an estimated 57.98% of McHenry County’s population, now are fully vaccinated, meaning they’ve received all doses recommended for the vaccine they were given.

Statewide, 16,433,982 vaccines have been administered, according to state data.

Across Illinois, 78.2% of those age 12 and older have received at least one dose of a vaccine against COVID-19, and 71.6% are fully vaccinated, the IDPH reported Monday. Those rates are 79.8% and 73.2% for people 18 and older and 94.6% and 87% for those 65 and older, respectively.

The IDPH reported 8,922 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 since Friday. Another 40 deaths also were logged since Friday, bringing the totals to 1,744,508 cases, 26,117 confirmed deaths and 2,915 probable deaths.

An additional 296 COVID-19 cases in the county were reported since Friday by the McHenry County Department of Health, bringing the total to 36,915 cases in McHenry County, including 336 deaths and 32 deaths that likely were caused by COVID-19 but have not been confirmed. No new deaths were reported Monday.

Neighboring Lake County’s health department reported a total of 74,851 cases and 1,105 deaths in Lake County on Monday and to the south, Kane County’s health department reported a total of 70,811 cases and 896 deaths Monday.

Among McHenry County ZIP codes, Crystal Lake (60014) has the highest number of COVID-19 cases with a total of 5,680 confirmed cases, according to county data. Woodstock (60098) follows with 4,197 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) 3,998; Lake in the Hills (60156) 3,395; Huntley (60142) 2,805; Algonquin (60102) 2,668; Cary (60013) 2,540; Johnsburg and McHenry (60051) 2,508; Harvard (60033) 1,892; Marengo (60152) 1,502; Crystal Lake, Bull Valley and Prairie Grove (60012) 1,258; Wonder Lake (60097) 1,234; Spring Grove (60081) 942; Island Lake (60042) 509; Fox River Grove (60021) 493; Richmond (60071) 422; Hebron (60034) 224; Barrington (60010) 195; Union (60180) 172; and Ringwood and Wonder Lake (60072) 107.

Sam Lounsberry

Sam Lounsberry

Sam Lounsberry covers local government, business, K-12 education and all other aspects of life in McHenry County, in particular in the communities of Woodstock, McHenry, Richmond, Spring Grove, Wonder Lake and Johnsburg.

Emily Coleman

Emily K. Coleman

Originally from the northwest suburbs, Emily K. Coleman is the editor for the Northwest Herald. She spent about seven years prior to that with Shaw Media, first covering the town of Dixon for Sauk Valley Media and then various communities within McHenry County from 2012 to 2016.