McHenry County records 5 more COVID-19 deaths since early last week

Active outbreaks at schools, youth sports organizations up to 12 in the county

McHenry County recorded five more deaths caused by COVID-19 since early last week, as the number of active outbreaks among local schools and youth organizations grew to 12, public health officials reported Monday.

The latest two COVID-19 outbreaks are linked to Harvard’s Crosby Elementary School and a girls cheerleading program based in Spring Grove, the Illinois Department of Public Heath said.

Both the outbreaks at Crosby and among the participants in the Stateline Comets Cheerleading group involve students and no staff, according to IDPH. The Crosby outbreak involves fewer than five cases, while Stateline’s tally is at five.

Outbreaks that remain active in schools are at Chauncey Duker Elementary in McHenry; Leggee Elementary in Huntley; and two each at Marlowe Middle School and Martin Elementary School, both in in Lake in the Hills, and Prairie Grove Elementary.

The other two youth outbreaks are among the staff of a First United Methodist Church preschool in Woodstock, which includes fewer than five cases, and among the D155 Predators Hockey club, a nonprofit with teams from Crystal Lake and Cary-Grove schools, with five cases among both students and staff.

The outbreaks at these schools and organizations were reported earlier in October and November.

Martin, a Huntley District 158 school, was among the first in McHenry County to have an outbreak this year, and is in the midst of its fourth outbreak. The first was declared on Sept. 2 after two students on a bus tested positive on Aug. 24.

“Each situation is different,” Associate Superintendent Jessica Lombard previously told the Northwest Herald. “We take each of those very seriously and want to do what’s best for the community.”

McHenry’s Chauncey Duker school has had three outbreaks this school year.

Youth outbreaks grew in numbers in the area as hospital intensive care unity capacity across McHenry and Lake counties has fluctuated between just above and just below the 20% threshold over the last week.

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.

Regional ICU capacity was at 21% on Sunday, the fourth straight day above the 20% threshold after it edged up to 21% on Thursday following four days at 19%, according to the IDPH.

Total hospitalizations for COVID-19 in the two-county region remain on an upward trajectory, with increases nine of the last 10 days, IDPH reported. The average hospitalizations reached 136 on Sunday, a jump of nine patients from the day before.

The two-county region has not seen hospitalizations at this level since mid-September, state data shows.

In McHenry County alone, 5.8% of medical and surgical beds and 24.7% 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 five of the past 10 days in the county.

Statewide, the number of hospitalizations tied to COVID-19 rose Sunday to 2,287, IDPH reported, up from fewer than 2,000 seen Thursday. Of those hospitalized Sunday, 446 patients were in the ICU and 212 were on ventilators.

An additional 780 COVID-19 cases in McHenry County were reported Monday, the latest update on the tally since Tuesday as the McHenry County health department did not release new data the day before, the day of or the day after the Thanksgiving holiday.

That brings the pandemic’s total to 38,910 cases in McHenry County, including 343 deaths and 33 deaths that likely were caused by COVID-19 but have not been confirmed. Five additional deaths were added to the toll Friday.

The level of COVID-19 transmission in McHenry County remained high as of Monday, according to the McHenry County Department of Health.

The incidence rate – measured as the number of new cases over seven days – has shot up to 351.3 as of Wednesday, the last day for which data is available. It was 263.56 on Nov. 17, which still marked an incidence rate more than double the threshold that indicates high transmission, county data shows.

The incidence rate had been climbing since it was at 128.04 per 100,000 residents on Oct. 24 and remains the highest level it’s been in the last 250 days of available data, according to the health department.

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 last week 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, increased to 7.8% on Friday, nearing the 8% threshold at which the CDC classifies transmission risk as “substantial” based on a positivity rate.

Before the middle of this month, 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.

Region 9, which is made up of Lake and McHenry counties, saw its positivity rate rise to 5.8% Friday, according to the IDPH.

An additional 5,050 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine were administered to McHenry County residents since Wednesday, bringing the total number administered locally to 414,266, IDPH reported Monday. The state reported 44,537 booster shots had been administered in McHenry County.

A total of 181,079 county residents, or an estimated 58.68% of McHenry County’s population, now are fully vaccinated, meaning they’ve received all doses recommended for the vaccine they were given.

Statewide, 17,234,911 vaccines have been administered, according to state data.

Across Illinois, 78.4% of those age 12 and older have received at least one dose of a vaccine against COVID-19, and 71.6% are fully vaccinated, IDPH reported Monday. Those rates are 80% and 73.1% for people 18 and older and 93.9% and 86.2% for those 65 and older, respectively.

Since Wednesday, the Illinois Department of Public Health tallied 24,319 total new cases of COVID-19. Another 97 deaths also were logged in that period, bringing the totals to 1,804,161 cases, 26,391 confirmed deaths and 2,958 probable deaths.

Neighboring Lake County’s health department reported a total of 77,457 cases and 1,113 deaths on Monday, and to the south, Kane County’s health department reported 73,204 cases and 901 deaths.

Among McHenry County ZIP codes, Crystal Lake (60014) has the highest number of COVID-19 cases with a total of 6,017 confirmed cases, according to county data. Woodstock (60098) follows with 4,470 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) 4,227; Lake in the Hills (60156) 3,549; Huntley (60142) 2,921; Algonquin (60102) 2,779; Cary (60013) 2,665; Johnsburg and McHenry (60051) 2,611; Harvard (60033) 1,986; Marengo (60152) 1,639; Wonder Lake (60097) 1,332; Crystal Lake, Bull Valley and Prairie Grove (60012) 1,309; Spring Grove (60081) 986; Island Lake (60042) 531; Fox River Grove (60021) 528; Richmond (60071) 454; Hebron (60034) 235; Barrington (60010) 205; Union (60180) 183; and Ringwood and Wonder Lake (60072) 109.