With rise in COVID-19 hospital numbers, Kane County officials advise graduation precautions

  • A health care worker tends to a patient late last year at Northwestern Medicine Delnor Hospital's COVID-19 unit in Geneva.

    A health care worker tends to a patient late last year at Northwestern Medicine Delnor Hospital's COVID-19 unit in Geneva. Courtesy of Northwestern Medicine

 
 
Updated 5/19/2022 6:31 AM

After a drop in COVID-19 cases to start the spring, Kane County public health officials are dealing with an upswing in May that is resulting in hospital stays and calls to take precautions at school graduations.

Over the last 30 days, the rate of people with COVID-19 infections has more than tripled, as has people with COVID-19 ending up in hospital beds. It's been enough of an increase for the county to move from "low transmission status" into the "medium transmission status" designation.

 

The number of cases per 100,000 residents stands at 308 compared to 82 one month ago. Health officials continued to say this week that the number of infections is likely much higher as people using at-home tests are generally not reporting positive test results to local health departments.

Still, the increase in hospital visits is tracking along with the upswing in positive tests. The rate of new hospital admissions per 100,000 residents is 6.1 compared to 2 last month. And 2.2% of staffed hospital beds are serving COVID-19 patients compared to 0.8% last month.

Compared to the onset of the pandemic, those numbers all still suggest people contracting COVID-19 at this point are seeing relatively mild symptoms and positive outcomes, health officials said. But death stats lag about a month behind increases in infections.

"Suffice it to say we're on the upward swing," said Uche Onwuta, the county's director of health protection. "We were enjoying low cases, and all of sudden, we are swinging up."

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Onwuta encouraged people to wear masks if they have symptoms, a positive test or have a known exposure to someone with COVID-19. She also encouraged people to wear masks and wash their hands when attending events with larger indoor crowds, such as graduations.

County health officials also encouraged residents to continue to get vaccinated. The percentage of residents 5 and older who are vaccinated remained at a stagnant 72%.

County board members signaled that will likely mean the county's mass vaccination site in Geneva will close at the end of this month. Officials may keep the site open through June if there is an influx of pediatric vaccines and accompanying local demand.

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