Whiteside, Lee counties seeing surge in COVID-19 cases

Whiteside and Lee counties are seeing a surge in coronavirus cases, and health officials continue to emphasize the importance of becoming vaccinated and wearing masks to curb the spread.

Whiteside County had 344 cases last week compared to 185 the week prior. Most of the cases – 131 – are people younger than 20.

There were 80 new cases from Saturday to Monday.

Lee County reported 194 cases across the week compared to 58 the week before.

Because of the hike in cases and contact tracing, the Whiteside County Health Department is experiencing a high volume of outgoing and incoming calls and is asking residents to be patient for a follow-up and not to leave more than one message.

Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention strengthened its recommendation on COVID-19 vaccine booster doses.

Everyone 18 and older should get a booster shot either 6 months after their initial Pfizer or Moderna series or 2 months after their initial Johnson & Johnson vaccine, according to the guidance.

“The emergence of the Omicron variant further emphasizes the importance of vaccination, boosters, and other prevention efforts needed to protect against COVID-19,” the health department said. “While there is much to learn about the Omicron variant, we do know that COVID-19 vaccines are our best tool to avoid serious illness and hospitalization.”

Whiteside County has administered 60,114 total doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, with 26,629 people (47.87%) fully vaccinated. Lee County has had 41,943 doses, with 18,491 people (54.03%) fully vaccinated. Carroll County has administered 13,819 vaccine doses, with 6,183 people (43.2%) fully vaccinated. Ogle County has had 60,193 doses, with 26,139 people (51.31%) fully vaccinated.

The North [Boone, Carroll, DeKalb, Jo Daviess, Lee, Ogle, Stephenson, Whiteside and Winnebago counties] region’s positivity rate decreased to 9.9%.

Currently, 11% of ICU beds are available.

Lee County’s positivity rate stayed flat at 7.7%, and Whiteside County’s went down to 7.6%.

Hospitalizations have increased 10 out of the past 10 days in this region. The region is up to 236 total COVID-19 hospitalizations.

Rachel Rodgers

Rachel Rodgers

Rachel Rodgers joined Sauk Valley Media in 2016 covering local government in Dixon and Lee County.