COVID-19 cases increase across Sauk Valley

Contact tracer Kathie Whalen scans in a vial from a tester Friday morning at Sterling High School. Because of the surge in positive COVID-19 cases, Sterling Public Schools is trying to hire additional contact tracers to take the burden off existing staff.

Coronavirus cases have increased across the area, but no counties are designated high risk for spread.

Whiteside and Carroll counties are at low risk, and Lee and Ogle counties are at medium risk.

Whiteside County had 109 cases during the past seven days, according to the most recent information available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention COVID-19 data tracker Monday. There were 51 cases the week before.

The positivity rate for the last seven days is at 6.53% from 5.92%, and the case rate is 197.55 per 100,000 people. There were four new hospitalizations.

Lee County had 94 cases compared with 70 cases the week prior and is at a 8.75% positivity rate, from 9.29%. The case rate is 275.69 per 100,000 people, and there were three new hospitalizations.

Ogle County had 105 cases across the week compared with 48, with a positivity rate of 11.84%, from 11.87%. The case rate is 207.33 per 100,000 people, and there were four new hospitalizations.

Carroll County reported 17 cases, compared with fewer than 10 cases the previous week, and a positivity rate of 28.57%, from 5%.

The Illinois Department of Public Health is urging safety precautions following an uptick in COVID-19 cases during the holidays.

“As we enter the new year, IDPH continues to closely monitor levels of COVID-19, the flu, and other respiratory illness in communities throughout Illinois,” IDPH Director Dr. Sameer Vohra said in a news release. “After the holidays, we are once again experiencing a rise in counties at elevated COVID-19 community levels, with 28 currently at High Level. As we monitor emerging variants, including a new more transmissible strain spreading in the northeastern U.S., I continue to recommend our residents take steps to prevent the spread of infection, protect those most vulnerable to serious illness, and preserve our hospital capacity. It is not too late to get your COVID-19 bivalent booster or yearly flu shot. And if you are sick, please stay home if you are able and reach out to your provider about treatments for COVID-19 and the flu.”

The CDC recommends the following measures for people in areas that are rated at High Community Level for COVID-19 transmission:

• Wear a well-fitting mask indoors in public, regardless of vaccination status (including in K-12 schools and other indoor community settings)

• If you have household or social contact with someone at high risk for severe disease consider self-testing to detect infection before contact consider wearing a mask when indoors with them

• Stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines and boosters

• Maintain improved ventilation throughout indoor spaces when possible

Rachel Rodgers

Rachel Rodgers

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