Suburban school COVID-19 outbreaks nearly triple this week
Twenty-two more suburban schools reported COVID-19 outbreaks this week, nearly three times as many as a week ago.
That's according to Illinois Department of Public Health records that show school outbreaks statewide grew from 26 schools in 14 counties a week ago to 81 schools in 28 counties Friday.
A week ago, eight schools in suburban Cook, Kane and Will counties were reporting outbreaks. Friday, the state reported outbreaks in six more Cook County schools, four more in Kane County schools and six more in Will County, as well as four new outbreaks in McHenry County schools and two in DuPage County.
IDPH defines an outbreak as two or more cases linked through school exposure, whether in a classroom or sports setting. The information is updated every Friday on the agency's website at dph.illinois.gov/covid19.
In Northwest suburban Cook County, Hoffman Elementary in Glenview and Lincoln Elementary in Palatine were among the new schools reporting outbreaks. The outbreaks at both schools involved fewer than five students.
Outbreaks at Glenbrook Elementary School in Streamwood and Maine East High School in Park Ridge had been previously reported.
The remaining outbreaks occurred in schools in western and southern parts of Cook County, according to IDPH reports.
In DuPage County, Owen Elementary in southern Naperville and Downers Grove South High School reported outbreaks involving fewer than five students. The Downers Grove South outbreak was attributed to sports activities.
In Kane County, Fox Meadow Elementary in Elgin reported fewer than five cases among students. Gary D. Wright Elementary in Hampshire reported fewer than five cases among students in that outbreak.
Holy Angels Catholic School in Aurora reported five to 10 students and staff were positive for the virus. And Sleepy Hollow Elementary saw five to 10 staff and students infected in the outbreak.
All four new outbreaks were attributed to classroom exposure, according to IDPH records.
Outbreaks at East Aurora High School and Sugar Grove's Kaneland John Shields Elementary had previously been reported.
In McHenry County, Conley Elementary in Algonquin saw five to 10 students and staff members test positive this week in its outbreak. Hannah Beardsley Middle School in Crystal Lake is reporting fewer than five students tested positive.
Martin Elementary in Lake in the Hills reported fewer than five infections in that school's outbreak. Spring Grove Elementary reported fewer than five cases among the staff.
In Will County, new outbreaks at schools were reported in Beecher, University Park, Joliet and Mokena. There were two new outbreaks in New Lenox elementary schools, according to IDPH records. New Lenox and Braidwood schools had previously reported outbreaks.
While only those 12 and older are eligible for COVID-19 vaccines, Gov. J.B. Pritzker urged those who can get an inoculation to do so.
"We're so close to getting over the hump, to getting to herd immunity, if we can just get people past their hesitancy," he said Friday at an event in Chicago. "It's a simple thing to do and available everywhere you go."
Pritzker also announced he is extending the deadline for health care workers and school employees to get vaccinated after discussions with education and hospital leaders. Those workers will now need to receive their first inoculation by Sept. 19 under the new rules.