COVID-19 spread in McHenry County remains high as hospitalizations continue to fall

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

COVID-19 hospitalizations fell for the 10th straight day across Lake and McHenry counties, the Illinois Department of Public Health reported on Wednesday.

The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 in McHenry and Lake counties decreased to 316 Tuesday after a high for the pandemic of 407 on Jan. 15, the IDPH reported.

Hospitalizations, measured by a seven-day rolling average, decreased each 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 increased to 15% as of Tuesday. It has been below the 20% threshold previously used by the state as a trigger point for imposing stricter COVID-19 health mitigations since Dec. 28.

In McHenry County alone, 5.5% of medical and surgical hospital beds remain available on average, according to the seven-day rolling mean reported Wednesday by the McHenry County health department. An average of 16.2% of ICU beds were available.

Hospitalizations for COVID-19-like illness decreased nine of the past 10 days in the county as of Wednesday.

Statewide, the number of hospitalizations tied to COVID-19 decreased Tuesday to 5,019, the IDPH reported. Of those hospitalized, 877 patients were in the ICU and 503 were on ventilators.

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

The McHenry County health department reported 442 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday but no additional deaths. That brings the total to 69,169, 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, remained artificially high Sunday, increasing to 36.1%, according to the IDPH.

A backlog of data from a single lab provided to the IDPH Friday and Saturday contained cases dating back to Dec. 23, IDPH spokeswoman Melaney Arnold said Monday. The issue was with the data being uploaded to IDPH, which means patients should have received their results within the typical turnaround, Arnold said Wednesday.

Of the 10,933 tests reported for Friday, 56.7% were positive, state data shows. That’s compared with Sunday when 1,767 tests were recorded, 18.3% of which were positive.

The region including both Lake and McHenry counties saw its test positivity rate decreased Sunday to 19.9%.

McHenry County’s incidence rate fell for the sixth day in a row, hitting 1,508.54 new cases over seven days per 100,000 residents as of Friday, the last day for which data was reported, according to the McHenry County health department.

That is below the peak on Jan. 13, which was the highest the county had seen over the previous 250 days, the time period published by the county, but remains more than 15 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.

An additional 874 COVID-19 vaccine doses were administered to McHenry County residents Tuesday, according to the IDPH, bringing the total number administered locally to 489,498. The state reported that 94,031 booster shots were administered in McHenry County.

A total of 193,549 county residents, or an estimated 62.72% of McHenry County’s population, now are fully vaccinated, meaning they’ve received all doses recommended for the vaccine they were given.

Statewide, 20,347,598 vaccines have been administered, according to state data.

Across Illinois, 79.7% of those age 5 and older have received at least one dose of a vaccine against COVID-19, and 69.9% are fully vaccinated, the IDPH reported Wednesday. Those rates are 83.9% and 74.1% for those age 12 and older, 85.4% and 75.5% for people 18 and older, and 95% and 87.1% for those 65 and older, respectively.

Statewide, the IDPH tallied 15,732 total new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday. Another 143 deaths also were logged, bringing the totals to 2,867,299 cases, 30,419 confirmed deaths and 3,712 probable deaths.

Neighboring Lake County’s health department reported a total of 112,573 cases and 1,209 deaths through Sunday. To the south, Kane County’s health department reported 111,402 cases and 1,000 deaths as of Friday.

Among McHenry County ZIP codes, Crystal Lake (60014) has the highest number of COVID-19 cases with a total of 11,239 confirmed, according to county data. McHenry (60050) follows with 7,833.

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) 7,195 cases; Lake in the Hills (60156) 6,567; Huntley (60142) 5,462; Cary (60013) 5,255; Algonquin (60102) 4,885; Johnsburg and McHenry (60051) 4,307; Harvard (60033) 3,439; Marengo (60152) 2,520; Wonder Lake (60097) 2,458; Crystal Lake, Bull Valley and Prairie Grove (60012) 2,395; Spring Grove (60081) 1,389; Fox River Grove (60021) 1,058; Island Lake (60042) 897; Richmond (60071) 649; Hebron (60034) 384; Barrington (60010) 289; Union (60180) 262; and Ringwood and Wonder Lake (60072) 174.