McHenry, Lake counties’ ICU capacity dips below 20% for third time as COVID-19 transmission remains high

A new probable death was reported Monday, but the last two confirmed deaths were reported Thursday

Hospital intensive care unity capacity across McHenry and Lake counties dipped below the 20% threshold on Sunday for the first time since mid-October, after COVID-19 hospitalizations in the region climbed throughout the start of this month from a low of 61 on Nov. 8 to a high of 98 last week, state data shows.

Previously in the pandemic, dips below the 20% capacity mark for ICUs within a region of the state would trigger stricter mitigations implemented in the area. Prior to this past August , the two-county region had avoided falling to that level of ICU availability.

An additional 418 cases of COVID-19 cases in McHenry County were reported Monday by the McHenry County health department, bringing the total to 37,962 cases in McHenry County, including 338 deaths and 33 deaths that likely were caused by COVID-19 but have not been confirmed.

A new probable death was reported Monday, but the last two confirmed deaths were reported Friday.

The seven-day average number of people hospitalized across Lake and McHenry counties because of COVID-19 was 97 on Sunday, down from the Friday high of 99, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health. Hospitalizations across the two counties have increased eight of the last two days.

In McHenry County alone, 4.7% of medical and surgical beds and 23.4% 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 for eight of the past 10 days in the county.

Statewide, the number of hospitalizations tied to COVID-19 rose Sunday to 1,833, IDPH reported. Of those hospitalized Sunday, 341 patients were in the ICU and 153 were on ventilators.

The level of COVID-19 transmission in McHenry County remained high. The incidence rate – measured as the number of new cases over seven days – went down to 259.98 new cases over seven days per 100,000 residents as of Wednesday, the last day for which data is available.

The incidence rate had been climbing since it was at 128.04 per 100,000 residents on Oct. 24, and has remained about 260 or higher since Nov. 11.

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 McHenry County Department of Health.

Both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and McHenry County health department use the incidence and positivity rates 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.

After more than two months with a low positivity rate, McHenry County crossed over to what the CDC considers a moderate one, a more severe categorization, according to local health department data.

McHenry County’s positivity rate, measured by a seven-day rolling average, was 5.8% as of Friday, according to data from the McHenry County health department.

The county had been within the low transmission range of zero percent to 4.9% since early September. It is now in what is considered a “moderate” transmission rate territory, but the county health department will not change its categorization from low unless it meets the moderate criteria for a seven straight days. It has been in the moderate range for four days.

Region 9, which is made up of Lake and McHenry counties, saw its positivity rate rise to 4.1% Friday, according to the IDPH.

An additional 4,852 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine were administered to McHenry County residents since Friday’s report, bringing the total number administered locally to 405,264, IDPH reported Monday. The state reported 38,728 booster shots had been administered in McHenry County.

A total of 179,790 county residents, or an estimated 58.27% of McHenry County’s population, now are fully vaccinated, meaning they’ve received all doses recommended for the vaccine they were given.

Statewide, 16,867,996 vaccines have been administered, according to state data.

Across Illinois, 77.9% of those age 12 and older have received at least one dose of a vaccine against COVID-19, and 71.3% are fully vaccinated, IDPH reported Monday. Those rates are 79.5% and 72.8% for people 18 and older and 93.3% and 85.9% for those 65 and older, respectively.

The Illinois Department of Public Health on Monday tallied 11,387 total new cases of COVID-19 since Friday’s reporting. Another 51 deaths also were logged Monday, bringing the totals to 1,775,253 cases, 26,277 confirmed deaths and 2,938 probable deaths.

Neighboring Lake County’s health department reported a total of 76,255 cases and 1,110 deaths on Monday, and to the south, Kane County’s health department reported a total of 72,076 cases and 898 deaths on Monday.

Among McHenry County ZIP codes, Crystal Lake (60014) has the highest number of COVID-19 cases with a total of 5,849 confirmed cases, according to county data. Woodstock (60098) follows with 4,324 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) 4,125; Lake in the Hills (60156) 3,484; Huntley (60142) 2,872; Algonquin (60102) 2,726; Cary (60013) 2,596; Johnsburg and McHenry (60051) 2,571; Harvard (60033) 1,945; Marengo (60152) 1,568; Crystal Lake, Bull Valley and Prairie Grove (60012) 1,284; Wonder Lake (60097) 1,283; Spring Grove (60081) 971; Island Lake (60042) 521; Fox River Grove (60021) 510; Richmond (60071) 441; Hebron (60034) 232; Barrington (60010) 200; Union (60180) 178; and Ringwood and Wonder Lake (60072) 110.

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.