Kane County's COVID-19 infections, vaccinations both surge in April

  • Gilberto Ramirez of Elgin receives his Johnson & Johnson vaccine shot from nurse Velencia Lewis April 7 at the new Elgin mass vaccination site at the Eastside Recreation Center.

      Gilberto Ramirez of Elgin receives his Johnson & Johnson vaccine shot from nurse Velencia Lewis April 7 at the new Elgin mass vaccination site at the Eastside Recreation Center. Rick West | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 4/21/2021 4:10 PM

April has been a bad month for COVID-19 infections in Kane County but a good month for increasing the availability to get a vaccine.

The latest stats shared by county health department officials with county board members Wednesday show the county hovering near an 8% positivity rate. A sustained period of a positivity rate greater than 8% for the Kane-DuPage County region could result in tighter mitigation measures being reactivated.

 

The early part of this week, however, has seen a slight trend back toward the lower positivity rate health officials want to see.

"We've been on a bad trajectory," said Michael Isaacson, deputy director of the county health department. "This past month, we've not done well with COVID. We have way too many tests coming back positive."

Stats show an increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations in 24 of the last 30 days in Kane County. Deaths, however, have remained at fewer than five for the last several weeks.

"We're hoping we're seeing a downward turn this week, and that this little spike is over," Isaacson said.

County officials have made big gains in making vaccines accessible to residents in recent weeks. In addition to the mass vaccination site opened in Batavia in March, the county bolstered efforts with two additional vaccination sites in Aurora and Elgin at the start of April.

Officials opened up 20,000 new vaccine appointments this week. And, for the first time, some of those appointment slots are going unfilled.

More than 5,500 county residents, on average, are getting a vaccine shot every day in the county now. That's resulted in more than 30% of the county's 16-and-older population receiving at least one vaccine shot so far.

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Among those is a greater number of Hispanic residents as county officials work with the Illinois Department of Public Health's equity team to address local populations showing lower vaccine rates.

The latest stats show 16% of vaccines distributed in the county have gone to Hispanic residents. That's up from 10% two months ago. Roughly one-third of the county's residents are of Hispanic or Latino origin, according to the most recently available Census information.

The county also saw some gains in getting vaccines for Black residents. About 6% of the county's residents are Black, but the latest vaccine stats show 3.14% of the county's shots have gone to Black residents. That's up from 2.7% two months ago.

Isaacson said the county is working with local community colleges and universities on special events to get provide vaccines to students. But the focus is still on reaching underserved residents.

"We're kicking into high gear to help groups that may be resistant to getting the vaccine," Isaacson said. "Everybody has to make their own choice. We just want to make sure they have the right information and understand what the positive impact of being vaccinated is."

Vaccine appointments are available at kanevax.org or by calling 1-855-4-kanevax.

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