Kane County preparing for 1,000th COVID-19 death

  • The latest local COVID-19 stats show unvaccinated people are far more likely to be hospitalized with the virus then people who are vaccinated.

    The latest local COVID-19 stats show unvaccinated people are far more likely to be hospitalized with the virus then people who are vaccinated. Courtesy of the Kane County Department of Public Health

 
 
Updated 1/19/2022 7:43 PM

Kane County is in the midst of its highest COVID-19 infection rate, and with 307 county residents hospitalized in just the past week, officials are now making plans to mark the milestone of 1,000 COVID-19 deaths before the end of January.

"A lot has happened over the last month," said Uche Onwuta, the county's director of health protection. "Omicron is in town and causing havoc."

 

Onwuta presented stats to the county board's public health committee showing a COVID-19 positivity rate twice as high as when COVID-19 hit its first peak in late 2020.

A month ago, the county's positivity rate was 131 cases per 100,000 tests. Over the last week, the positivity rate has been 915 per 100,000 -- actually a substantial improvement from earlier in the month.

Testing stats and positivity rates are becoming more difficult to track with the arrival of at-home tests.

County officials are tracking 14 current outbreaks at various schools and another 53 originating at other mass gathering sites or events.

Onwuta's stats also showed far more unvaccinated people are filling hospital beds than their vaccinated neighbors. Stats show 43% of the local eligible population is fully vaccinated and has a booster shot.

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"This is clearly evidence of vaccination working," Onwuta said. She also for the first time suggested wearing N95 or K95 masks to help slow the spread of the virus and reduce the current burden on hospitals.

The county has now recorded 107,000 COVID-19 cases since the onset of the pandemic. Of those, 987 people are dead. That includes 16 deaths in the past week, putting the county on track to hit 1,000 total deaths within the next week.

County board Chair Corinne Pierog said the county will mark that milestone "to recognize all of those people and all of the health care workers and our county workers and families who have gone through this crisis."

Officials plan to lay a wreath at the Third Street Courthouse in Geneva. An official date and time for the ceremony will be announced after logging the 1,000th death.

"This is a time for healing," Pierog said.

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