Coronavirus

COVID-19 spread in McHenry County now ‘high,’ health department says

A vial of the Piizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic Monday, Jan. 24, 2022, at the Algonquin Township office, 3702 Route 14 in Crystal Lake. The clinic was put on by the township to help people get they vaccine, after the Omicron variant made getting shots at other locations harder.

The level of COVID-19 transmission in McHenry County now is high under the thresholds set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the McHenry County Department of Health reported Thursday.

Because of the increased spread, country residents and visitors are encouraged to wear a mask in indoor public spaces, regardless of vaccination status, according to a news release.

The community level rose to medium on May 6, following two months of low transmission.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in late February switched how it determined the level of community 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 297.03 new cases over the previous seven days per 100,000 residents as of Saturday, 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 in McHenry County was five each day as of Monday, and 22% of intensive care units across Lake and McHenry counties were available as of Wednesday, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Those who have a social contact or share a home with someone at high risk for severe illness caused by COVID-19 should consider self-testing to detect infection before contact and wearing a mask when indoors with them, the county health department recommended.

Free testing in the community can be found at bit.ly/MCDHCovidTesting1, free at-home testing kits offered by the federal government can be ordered at COVID.gov, and locations providing free vaccine can be found at Vaccines.gov.

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, the McHenry County health department recommends.

Information about how COVID-19 community level metrics are measured and McHenry County’s status can be found at the CDC’s website, cdc.gov.