There were no new COVID-19 outbreaks — multiple cases traced back to a classroom, sports team or bus — in Sauk Valley schools during the most recent reporting period.
That’s first time that’s happened since the start of the new school year.
It’s just one several indicators that show an easing of the pandemic’s hold on the region, according to data reports provided by the Illinois Department of Public Health.
However, it should be noted that Lee, Whiteside, Ogle and Carroll counties remain areas of high transmission for the virus and that vaccination rates for the four counties are all below the state average of 56.5%.
Lee County had 43 new cases over the last seven-day period, a rate of 126.11 per 100,000 people, with test positivity at 1.48%.
Whiteside was at 79 new cases, a 143.18 per 100,000 rate, with test positivity rate at 2.58%.
Ogle was at 73 new cases, a 144.15 per 100,000 rate, with test positivity at 3.04%.
Carroll was at 19 new cases, a 132.82 per 100,000 rate, with test positivity at 2.27%.
Those numbers put the four counties into areas of high transmission.
Across the state, 14 counties have seen their transmission rate improve to a designation of “substantial” transmission. That group includes Jo Davies and Bureau counties.
While there were no new outbreaks, there continue to be cases of COVID-19 among youth. In the period between Oct. 10 and 16, there were 20 new cases in Ogle, 13 in Whiteside, 10 in Carroll and nine in Lee.
As a region, northwest Illinois showed signs of improvement. There have been 11 consecutive days of test positivity being below the 8% threshold and nine days of ICU patient decreases.
In the region, 27 of 150 ICU beds are available.
There are 3,061 intensive care beds in Illinois and 613 are open. Of those, 323 are occupied by COVID-19 patients or likely COVID patients (which the state designates as “Persons Under Investigation”, or PUIs).
There are 954 COVID-19 and PUI hospital patients not in ICUs. The state estimates that 5% of all hospital beds are in use by COVID-19 or PUI patients.
Lee County is 52.3% fully vaccinated. Ogle is at 49.67%, Whiteside at 46.9% and Carroll is at 41.56%.