There is plenty of COVID-19 vaccine in the Sauk Valley, from either state health services or their private partners.
According to data posted by the Illinois Department of Public Health as of Sept. 23, there are 4,676 doses of vaccine available in the Sauk Valley.
That includes more than 2,740 doses in Ogle County — which, of late, is the hardest hit of the region’s four counties.
There are 882 doses in Lee, 860 in Whiteside and 194 in Carroll.
Pace of vaccinations
Ogle County has a seven-day average of providing 70 vaccinations, raising the county’s percentage among those fully vaccinated to 47.71%
Whiteside County had a seven-day average of 45 doses, lifting its percentage of vaccinated persons to 45.91%.
Lee County has 50.92% of its population fully vaccinated and Carroll County has 40.74% of its population.
Ogle County has the highest case rate, 266.57 cases per 100,000 people. Over a seven-day period that was posted on Sept. 24, there were 135 new cases of coronavirus in the county.
Whiteside has a case rate of 250.11 per 100,000 after 138 were added. Lee was at 167.18 per 100,000 with 57 new cases. Carroll was at 125.83 with 18 new cases.
Ogle County had three new outbreaks reported. Stillman Valley High School had between 5 and 10 cases, which were sports related. Meridian Junior High and Mary Morgan Elementary each had fewer than five cases and they were classroom related.
According to data posted Sept. 18, cases among the region’s school-age children (those in the 5 to 22 age group) were largely in decline. Ogle had 26, which was 47 fewer than the previous week. Lee County had 11, which is two fewer. Carroll County had six, which was one fewer.
The only uptick came in Whiteside County, which had 43 cases — seven more than the previous week. Of those, 16 were in the 5-11 age bracket, 18 were in the 12-17 group and nine were in the 18-22 group.
ICU demand eases
Demand for intensive care unit beds in EMS Region 1 has eased. As of Sept. 23, there were 35 available ICU units in the northern Illinois region.
Nursing, by the numbers
At the start of September, the American Nurses Association, which represents about 4.2 million nurses nationwide, urged the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to declare the nursing staffing shortage during the pandemic a national crisis.
In that letter, the ANA cited a survey from Trusted Health that said because of the pandemic, 39% of nurses ages 20 to 39 responded that their commitment to the profession was lessened. It also reported sizable nurse shortages in areas where the delta variant was surging.
Back in 2019 — even before the pandemic — the Illinois Nursing Workforce Center had been issuing projections that nurses would be in short supply. Retirement was the main reason cited then.
Now, the state’s supply of nurses has grown since then; the state is graduating about 7,400 registered nurses annually, INWC said.
According to the INWC review of nursing licenses from a report dated April 14, 2021, the state had an estimated 182,925 nurses, about 167,679 of whom were registered nurses.
About one in five nurses report their specialty as acute care or critical care — meaning they are qualified to work in intensive care units.
So, what’s the nursing situation in the Sauk Valley?
INWC estimates are based on the nurse’s listed residency, not place of employment. But a report from March 2020 showed Whiteside County with 893 nurses, Ogle County with 881, Lee County with 621 and Carroll County with 196.
Lee — alone among the four counties — had a nurse-to-population ratio that exceeded the state average of 1.76%.
Lee was 1.82%, while Carroll was 1.37%, Ogle was 1.74% and Whiteside was 1.62%