McHenry County’s COVID-19 spread level rises to ‘medium’

Rate of new cases has been climbing, surpassing 200 new cases over seven days per 100,000 residents last week

Ed Jost has a COVID-19 test sample collected by Curative Testing Specialist Tod Schneider at the weekly COVID-19 testing site for D-15 staff on Monday, Sept. 20, 2021 at Hilltop Elementary School in McHenry.

The level of COVID-19 spread in McHenry County has risen to medium after two months of low transmission, the McHenry County Department of Health reported Friday.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in late February switched how it determined the community spread, and the change meant that McHenry County, which was considered to have high transmission under the previous model, had low spread.

The framework looks at the number of new cases in a county, the number of people being admitted to the hospital for COVID-19 and the percentage of staffed inpatient beds occupied by COVID-19 patients.

The county’s incidence rate was 222.61 new cases over the previous seven days per 100,000 residents as of April 30, according to the McHenry County Department of Health’s dashboard. That number has been rising since early April, when it was in the low 40s.

The seven-day rolling average for new hospital admissions across Lake and McHenry counties was four as of Tuesday, and 28% of intensive care units in the the two-county region were available, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.

The higher level of transmission means the CDC recommends that those who are at high risk of severe illness from COVID-19 talk to their health care provider about whether they should wear a mask and take other precautions. The CDC also recommends staying up to date with the COVID-19 vaccine and getting tested if experiencing symptoms.

Anyone who has symptoms, tests positive for COVID-19 or is exposed to someone with COVID-19 should wear a mask, regardless of their vaccination status, according to the McHenry County health department.