IDPH: Three new outbreaks reported at McHenry County schools

New outbreaks were identified at two McHenry elementary schools and Crystal Lake Central High School

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

Three new outbreaks were reported this week at McHenry County schools, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.

An outbreak involving seven cases among staff and students at Crystal Lake Central High School was reported Tuesday, according to the IDPH. This is Crystal Lake Central’s second outbreak this school year, according to IDPH reports and Northwest Herald archives.

The outbreak was tied to the freshman and sophomore girls basketball team, according to a Wednesday letter to families that a Community High School District 155 spokeswoman provided to the Northwest Herald. Practices and games for the team will not resume until Jan. 28, and the school’s operations staff continues to deep clean and disinfect the building throughout the day and every night.

“We want to emphasize that this is not based on new information or a sudden event; the health department investigation takes time to complete,” the district said in the letter, noting that all close contacts already had been notified.

New outbreaks also were reported at two schools in McHenry School District 15.

One outbreak involving six cases among staff and students was reported Jan. 14 at Valley View Elementary School, and another with five cases was reported Wednesday at Edgebrook Elementary School, according to the IPDH report. Both outbreaks were tied to the classroom.

The outbreak at Valley View is the school’s second so far this school year, and the one at Edgebrook is its third, according to IDPH reports and Northwest Herald archives.

An attempt to reach the District 15 superintendent Friday was unsuccessful.

McHenry County has nine current outbreaks at area schools and youth organizations, the IDPH reported, up from six last week.

One of those outbreaks, at the Alexander Leigh Center for Autism, saw the total number of cases tied to it increase this week to six cases, up from five as of the last update on , according to the IDPH report.

The others – Conley Elementary School in Algonquin with 15 cases among students, Lake in the Hills Elementary School with fives cases among students and three outbreaks at Woods Creek Elementary School in Crystal Lake – saw their case counts remain the same.

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

The county health department reported 2,608 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday but no additional deaths. That brings the total to 62,801, 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 19.1% Tuesday, according to the IDPH.

The region including both Lake and McHenry counties saw its test positivity rate increase slightly Tuesday to 15.1%.

McHenry County’s incidence rate decreased to 1,153.34 new cases over seven days per 100,000 residents as of Sunday, the last day for which data was reported, according to the McHenry County health department.

That is 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 11 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 then would need to stay below those levels for a week.

COVID-19 hospitalizations fell for the fifth straight day across Lake and McHenry counties, the IDPH reported Friday.

The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 in McHenry and Lake counties decreased to 366 Thursday after a high for the pandemic of 407 on Jan. 15, the IDPH reported.

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

Hospital intensive care unit availability across McHenry and Lake counties decreased to 13% Thursday. 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, 3.9% of medical and surgical hospital beds remain available on average, according to the seven-day rolling mean reported Friday by the McHenry County health department. An average of 16.6% of ICU beds were available.

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

Statewide, the number of hospitalizations tied to COVID-19 decreased Thursday to 6,054, the IDPH reported. Of those hospitalized, 972 patients were in the ICU and 560 were on ventilators.

An additional 1,182 COVID-19 vaccine doses were administered to McHenry County residents on Thursday, according to the IDPH, bringing the total number administered locally to 485,531. The state reported that 91,225 booster shots were administered in McHenry County.

A total of 192,944 county residents, or an estimated 62.53% of McHenry County’s population, now are fully vaccinated, meaning they’ve received all doses recommended for the vaccine they were given.

Statewide, 20,207,132 vaccines have been administered, according to state data.

Across Illinois, 79.4% of those age 5 and older have received at least one dose of a vaccine against COVID-19, and 69.7% are fully vaccinated, the IDPH reported Friday. Those rates are 83.6% and 74% for those age 12 and older, 85.1% and 75.4% for people 18 and older, and 95% and 87.1% for those 65 and older, respectively.

Statewide, the IDPH tallied 40,642 total new cases of COVID-19 on Friday. Another 137 deaths also were logged, bringing the totals to 2,773,362 cases, 29,845 confirmed deaths and 3,601 probable deaths.

Neighboring Lake County’s health department reported a total of 108,137 cases and 1,199 deaths through Wednesday. 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 9,917 confirmed, according to county data. McHenry (60050) follows with 7,230.

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) 6,847 cases; Lake in the Hills (60156) 5,703; Huntley (60142) 4,814; Cary (60013) 4,753; Algonquin (60102) 4,381; Johnsburg and McHenry (60051) 4,052; Harvard (60033) 2,967; Marengo (60152) 2,395; Wonder Lake (60097) 2,330; Crystal Lake, Bull Valley and Prairie Grove (60012) 2,208; Spring Grove (60081) 1,346; Fox River Grove (60021) 905; Island Lake (60042) 842; Richmond (60071) 629; Hebron (60034) 351; Barrington (60010) 271; Union (60180) 246; and Ringwood and Wonder Lake (60072) 165.