Suburban school COVID-19 outbreaks trend up; Illinois deaths pass 25,000
Classroom-related contacts were the source in a majority of 26 new COVID-19 outbreaks in suburban schools this week, according to Illinois Department of Public Health records Friday.
There were six sports-related virus hot spots and 20 classroom-related ones, the data showed.
Also on Friday, deaths from COVID-19 in Illinois passed a new threshold when 41 new deaths brought total fatalities in the state to 25,017 since the pandemic began. The state health department said 3,356 new cases were reported.
Altogether, suburban school outbreaks increased compared to Sept. 24, when 21 were recorded, but that wasn't the case for every county.
For example, Kane County had zero outbreaks listed Friday versus two a week ago.
In suburban Cook County, eight schools had outbreaks; on Sept. 24 six were reported. Affected buildings included Glenbrook South High School in Glenview and Stuart R. Paddock School in Palatine.
In DuPage County, nine schools had outbreaks versus six recorded Sept. 24. New occurrences included: Fenton High School in Bensenville, Glenbard East High School in Lombard and Glenbard North High School in Carol Stream, Glenn Westlake Middle School in Lombard, Lake Park West High School in Roselle, May Watts Elementary School in Naperville, and Timothy Christian Elementary School in Elmhurst.
Lake County had four outbreaks compared to two last week. Schools were: BJ Hooper Elementary School in Lindenhurst, Fremont Elementary School in Mundelein, Oakland Elementary School in Lake Villa, and Wauconda High School.
McHenry County had three outbreaks, same as its Sept. 24 tally. Locations were Coventry Elementary School in Crystal Lake, Harvard High School, and Heineman Middle School in Algonquin.
Will County also plateaued with two outbreaks Sept. 24 and two this week at schools.
Meanwhile, there are positive trends at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago. Although diagnoses of COVID-19 have "increased significantly, our hospitalizations for COVID-19 increased only slightly," said Dr. Larry Kociolek.
Despite the ongoing outbreaks, he noted cases of COVID-19 in Illinoisans age 19 and younger peaked in the first week of September. Much of the credit goes to schools' adherance to mask and social distancing rules, Kociolek added.
"Schools are incredibly safe and potentially safer for kids than nonschool settings. That's because schools offer an unprecedented level of risk mitigation and public health resources during this pandemic," said Kociolek, medical director of infection prevention and control.
For parents wondering about when the federal government will approve Pfizer/BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 to 11, Kociolek estimates shots should be available "within six weeks."
Illinois hospitals were treating 1,833 COVID-19 patients Thursday night.
On Thursday, 16,515 more COVID-19 shots were administered. The seven-day average is 22,754.
So far, 7,042,615 people have been fully vaccinated, which is nearly 55.3% of Illinois' 12.7 million population.
The state's positivity rate for COVID-19 cases is 2.2% based on a seven-day average.
Total cases statewide stand at 1,630,864.
Labs processed 156,801 virus tests in the last 24 hours.