COVID-19 cases, deaths up in county


The Ogle County Board heard at its Jan. 18 meeting that not only are COVID-19 cases soaring in the county, but deaths from the disease are as well.

Kyle Auman, Ogle County Health Department administrator, told the board during a Zoom meeting that the county is at a 22.58 percent positivity rate for COVID-19. That is up from 14.18 percent last month.

“As you all may have heard, we are experiencing … some of the highest numbers we have seen,” he told the board during the call.

In fact, the last two board meetings have been held on Zoom and not in person because of the increase in COVID cases.

Auman told the board there have been 120 deaths from COVID in the county, with a “significant” number coming more recently. He said there were 17 deaths from COVID in December and eight so far in January.

“We went many months in the fall without very many deaths,” he said.

Ogle County has had 12,073 cases overall and have 2,510 active now. He said that regional ICU bed availability is also “something we are still keeping a close eye on.” Auman said federal resources are coming to Rockford to help area hospitals with the influx of cases.

He said that the Omicron variant has been identified in the county, but most cases are still the Delta variant.

And school are still the top exposure location, he said. The county has identified 1,600 cases from schools.

Auman said that long-term care facilities are also seeing many cases, with some in “outbreak” status. He said workers are not only caring for residents but are also dealing with a high number of COVID cases and staff shortages.

Overall, 54 percent of the county’s population is vaccinated. Auman said the county is lagging in the number of children ages 5-11 who have been vaccinated. Only 570 of about 4,000 in that age group have received the shots.

In other action:

The County Board honored former County Board member Jim Barnes of Oregon. Barnes died on Dec. 5, 2021.

Barnes served as chairman of the County Board from 2010 to 2012. He also served the City of Oregon for 28 years as both a councilman and mayor.

The board declared Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2022, as Jim Barnes Day in Ogle County.