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With new confirmed cases of COVID-19 and hospitalizations on the rise in McHenry County and the state moving to Tier 3 mitigations beginning Friday, the McHenry County Department of Health is urging everybody to avoid unessential trips and social gatherings to help slow the spread of COVID-19.
On Thursday, the McHenry County health department reported 255 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 and one additional death, bringing the county's totals to 11,338 confirmed cases, 134 related deaths and six probable deaths. McHenry County's recovery rate currently sits at 98%.
McHenry County's medical and surgical bed availability currently is 27.3% – the lowest it has been since the spring, according to a release issued by the McHenry County Department of Health.
“We were able to prevent the overburdening of hospitals in our region during the pandemic’s first peak and we can do it again. Let’s not throw away all the gains we made because we’re fatigued by this virus,” McHenry County Public Health Administrator Melissa Adamson said in the release.
"We do not know the long term effects of the virus, but the immediate danger is further spread that risks overloading our hospitals. Changing our behaviors will limit the spread and protect others.”
McHenry County residents have been tested a total of 135,700 times since the pandemic began, according to county-specific data collected by the Illinois Department of Public Health.
On Thursday, the IDPH reported the 10 latest deaths related to COVID-19 in McHenry County: a man in his 60s, a man in his 70s, three women in their 80s, three men in their 80s, a woman in her 90s and a man in his 90s.
Adamson urged residents not to let their guard down, even if they test negative for COVID-19.
“With how widespread COVID-19 is in our community, having yourself tested and thinking a negative result means that it’s OK to socially gather can give way to a false sense of security. The test date is a snap shot for that day, you can be positive the next day,” Adamson said.
“If you are the close contact of someone with the virus and are awaiting testing results, a negative test result does not release you from your quarantine. You should be doing everything possible to avoid coming into contact with others.”
The Lake County Health Department reported a total of 30,982 confirmed cases and 565 related deaths Thursday.
The Kane County Health Department reported a total of 27,663 confirmed cases and 402 deaths.
The McHenry County health department has been reporting on four metrics designed to help school administrators decide when it may be safe to gradually begin reopening schools or when to return to a hybrid or remote learning approach.
The metrics used on the dashboard are incidence rate (number of COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people a day), test positivity rate (percentage of COVID-19 tests that come back positive), the trend of hospital admissions for COVID-19-like illness and the weekly count of new confirmed cases.
The first three of these four metrics are reported Monday through Friday based on a seven-day rolling average of the data with all but the incident rate reported on a three-day lag. The weekly count of new cases will be updated once a week, also with a three-day lag, according to the health department.
The incident rate is being reported on a five-day lag because of a data backlog, according to the dashboard. According to the advisory, the backlog is only affecting the chart and is not the result of a delay in the processing of laboratory data.
On Thursday, the incidence rate decreased to 80 cases per 100,000 residents, more than five times as high as the upper threshold of 14 cases recommended by the health department in its reopening plan as one indicator for considering a return to remote learning.
The county's test positivity rate decreased from 20% to 19.1% on Thursday, still exceeding the threshold of 8% for when schools might consider moving back to remote learning.
There were 17 hospital admissions for COVID-19-like illness reported Thursday, an increase of one over Wednesday.
The weekly case count reported for the week of Nov. 1 showed 1,632 new cases, 189 of which were identified in children ages 3 to 18, according to the dashboard.
Among McHenry County ZIP codes, Crystal Lake (60014) has the highest number of COVID-19 cases with a total of 1,714 confirmed cases, according to county data. Woodstock (60098) follows with 1,443 cases.
The McHenry County health department reports only ZIP code data that is located within McHenry County, a department spokeswoman said. Any discrepancies between county and IDPH numbers likely are because of the data's provisional nature and because each health department finalizes its data at different times, she said.
The following is the rest of the local breakdown of cases by ZIP code: McHenry (60050) 1,108; Lake in the Hills (60156) 1,041; Huntley (60142) 876; Algonquin (60102) 877; Harvard (60033) 805; Johnsburg and McHenry (60051) 739; Cary (60013) 682; Marengo (60152) 488; Wonder Lake (60097) 371; Crystal Lake, Bull Valley and Prairie Grove (60012) 343; Spring Grove (60081) 268; Island Lake (60042) 141; Richmond (60071) 126; Fox River Grove (60021) 120; Hebron (60034) 61; Union (60180) 41; Barrington (60010) 36; and Ringwood and Wonder Lake (60072) 22.