COVID-19 hospitalizations fall again while ICU availability remains low

This illustration, created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reveals ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses

COVID-19 hospitalizations fell for the fourth straight day across Lake and McHenry counties, the Illinois Department of Public Health reported Thursday.

The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 in McHenry and Lake counties decreased to 377 Wednesday following a high for the pandemic of 407 on Saturday, the IDPH reported.

Hospitalizations, measured by a seven-day rolling average, decreased five of the last 10 days in the two-county region, state data shows. It had been increasing every day since Dec. 26 prior to Jan. 14.

Hospital intensive care unit availability across McHenry and Lake counties remained at 14% Wednesday. It has been below the 20% threshold previously used by the state as a trigger point for imposing stricter health mitigations since Dec. 28.

In McHenry County alone, 3.3% of medical and surgical hospital beds remain available on average, according to the seven-day rolling mean reported Thursday by the McHenry County Department of Health. An average of 15.7% of intensive care unit beds were available.

Hospitalizations for COVID-19-like illness increased three of the past 10 days in the county as of Thursday.

Statewide, the number of hospitalizations tied to COVID-19 decreased Wednesday to 6,258, the IDPH reported. Of those hospitalized, 1,033 patients were in the ICU and 586 were on ventilators.

The level of COVID-19 transmission in McHenry County remained high Thursday, the McHenry County Department of Health reported.

The county health department reported 744 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, but no additional deaths. That brings the total to 60,193, including 377 deaths and 36 deaths that likely were caused by COVID-19 but have not been confirmed.

The county has recorded two COVID-19 deaths so far in 2022.

The test positivity rate for the county, as measured by a seven-day rolling average, decreased to 19.5% Monday, according to the IDPH.

The region including both Lake and McHenry counties saw its test positivity rate decrease Monday to 15%.

McHenry County’s incidence rate increased to 1,207.94 new cases over seven days per 100,000 residents as of Saturday, the last day for which data was reported, according to the McHenry County health department.

That remains below the peak on Jan. 9, which was the highest the county had seen over the previous 250 days, the time period published by the county, but remains more than 12 times the threshold set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to indicate a high level of transmission within a community.

For transmission risk 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 the positivity rate would need to be below 10%, according to the McHenry County health department. Both metrics would then need to stay below those levels for a week.

An additional 1,092 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine were administered to McHenry County residents on Wednesday, according to the IDPH, bringing the total number administered locally to 484,349. The state reported that 90,530 booster shots were administered in McHenry County.

A total of 192,761 county residents, or an estimated 62.47% of McHenry County’s population, now are fully vaccinated, meaning they’ve received all doses recommended for the vaccine they were given.

Statewide, 20,159,853 vaccines have been administered, according to state data.

Across Illinois, 79.2% of those age 5 and older have received at least one dose of a vaccine against COVID-19, and 69.6% are fully vaccinated, the IDPH reported Thursday. Those rates are 83.4% and 73.9% for those age 12 and older, 85% and 75.3% for people 18 and older, and 95% and 87% for those 65 and older, respectively.

Statewide, the IDPH tallied 23,246 total new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday. Another 199 deaths also were logged, bringing the totals to 2,732,720 cases, 29,708 confirmed deaths and 3,570 probable deaths.

Neighboring Lake County’s health department reported a total of 107,080 cases and 1,199 deaths through Tuesday. To the south, Kane County’s health department reported 108,884 cases and 995 deaths as of Thursday.

Among McHenry County ZIP codes, Crystal Lake (60014) has the highest number of COVID-19 cases with a total of 9,472 confirmed, according to county data. McHenry (60050) follows with 6,992.

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: Woodstock (60098) 6,734 cases; Lake in the Hills (60156) 5,344; Cary (60013) 4,515; Huntley (60142) 4,487; Algonquin (60102) 4,134; Johnsburg and McHenry (60051) 4,003; Harvard (60033) 2,751; Marengo (60152) 2,338; Wonder Lake (60097) 2,289; Crystal Lake, Bull Valley and Prairie Grove (60012) 2,112; Spring Grove (60081) 1,335; Fox River Grove (60021) 831; Island Lake (60042) 826; Richmond (60071) 624; Hebron (60034) 346; Barrington (60010) 270; Union (60180) 240; and Ringwood and Wonder Lake (60072) 163.