McHenry County Surpasses 50K COVID Cases

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MCHENRY COUNTY, IL — The state has recorded more than 50,000 cases of COVID-19 in McHenry County since the beginning of the pandemic.

As of Friday, 51,573 positive COVID-19 cases have been reported to the state to date, and 374 residents have died from complications caused by the virus in McHenry County, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health. The number of cases could be higher since at-home tests, which are used regularly lately, are not included in this tally..

It’s also important to note that some people have tested positive more than once for COVID so the number does not represent the number of people who’ve contracted the virus.

Find out what’s happening in Crystal Lake-Cary with free, real-time updates from Patch.

The number of people testing positive for the virus over the past week hit an all-time high for the county. On Thursday, more than 44,000 new daily cases were reported in McHenry County and the seven-day rolling average for cases tipped over 27,000 per day.

Comparably speaking, during last fall’s spike in cases, the most cases reported on a single day was 17,608, on Nov. 5, 2021. The seven-day rolling average around that time peaked at nearly 12,000 cases per day in McHenry County.

Find out what’s happening in Crystal Lake-Cary with free, real-time updates from Patch.

Health officials say the Omicron variant is to blame for the latest spike in cases, which is affecting vaccinated and children moreso this time around, but has, overall, been shown to produce milder symptoms. There’s been several breakthrough cases reported this time around but the majority of people becoming severely ill are those who haven’t received a COVID-19 vaccine.

Health officials are also warning that with the milder symptoms, hospitals could become again overrun due to the much higher number of cases. As of Thursday, 18 percent of hospital beds and 9 percent of intensive care unit beds across the state were available. Vaccinations, mask-wearing, hand washing and social distancing is being pushed to prevent contracting the virus or serious illness.

Last week, Advocate Aurora Health officials said staffing issues within the medical field have been an ongoing issue but have become more of a problem in recent weeks.

“That has accelerated due to fatigue, stress and also as team members become sick from COVID,” said Advocate Chief Nursing Officer Mary Beth Kingston on Monday. “We know it’s a stressful time for all, but we do ask for everyone’s patience and kindness as we navigate through this extreme surge.”

So far, most schools in McHenry County continue to offer in-person instruction but cases are also soaring in schools, which could lead to closures in the coming days and weeks. Within District 300, which has schools in Algonquin and Lake in the Hills, an average of 3,600 students and 370 staff members were absent each day last week.

“This week, we saw some of our highest ever staff and student absences,” according to a Saturday letter to parents from District 300 superintendent Susan Harkin.

The school district has made changes to restrict the number of people allowed at sporting events and performing arts events. State health officials are encouraging schools to stay in session, if they can, and recently lowered the number of days needed to quarantine to match a shift in guidelines by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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