Youth, minorities impacted most in latest Kane County COVID-19 spike
School-aged children joined Hispanic and Black Kane County residents as the people experiencing the highest numbers of COVID-19 infections during the latest spike.
County health officials shared data Wednesday showing people younger than 20 are the age group in the latest weekly report with the highest current infection rate at 232 per 100,000 residents. That's helping fuel seven COVID-19 outbreaks at area schools in the last week.
"Most of our new cases are among children who are eligible for vaccination," said Uche Onwuta, the county's director of health protection. "I hope this would encourage parents that vaccination is key to keep our children in school. We are really seeing an increase in cases and outbreaks. The most effective measure to bring down the transmission rate now is vaccination."
Residents between the ages of 70 and 79 have the lowest infection rate. Data shows 86% of Kane County residents older than 65 are fully vaccinated.
COVID-19 cases are hitting the Hispanic community more than twice as much as white residents. Black residents are also experiencing more cases than white residents.
"There is still a racial disparity with the cases," Onwuta told the county board's public health committee.
Recent data show that playing out at a neighborhood level. The 60505 ZIP code on the east side of Aurora has one of the largest Hispanic populations in the county. Local health officials have had a hard time convincing residents of that neighborhood to get the vaccine. About 40% of residents there are vaccinated.
Meanwhile, Geneva residents in the 60134 ZIP code have one of the highest concentrations of vaccinated county residents. More than 85% of the people living in that ZIP code are white, and more than 70% of the residents are vaccinated.
Health officials also encouraged residents who got vaccinated more than six months ago to get a booster shot. Most county residents already qualify for the booster because of their health status or occupation, officials said. And no proof of the need for the booster is required when getting the shot -- other than a vaccine card showing it's been more than six months since the person was fully vaccinated.
Onwuta said the current consensus from studies indicates the COVID-19 vaccines begin to lose some effectiveness after six months. However, fully vaccinated people are still five times less likely to have a breakthrough infection than someone who is unvaccinated but had a previous COVID-19 infection, she said.