Spring break leads to uptick in COVID cases


OREGON – Ogle County is seeing an increase in COVID-19 cases, and could see the numbers increase even more, said the county’s Public Health Administrator.

Kyle Auman told the Ogle County Board at its April 20 meeting that the regional positivity rate at that time was at 6.8 percent, which was down from the previous days.

“We have been keeping a very close eye on the regional positivity rate,” Auman said.

The positivity rate in Ogle County is 5.7 percent, and Auman said the county at that time was getting about 20 new cases of the virus a day on average. He said those numbers will probably spike.

He said the reason is mostly school-age children, who are coming back from spring break activities and are participating in high school sports.

The concern is that if the rate continues to go up it could mean tighter restrictions again. If the positivity rate is over 8 percent for three days, the county could move back to Tier 3 mitigations.

Earlier last week, the state government warned that young people were driving the spike in COVID cases. Is response, it announced “College Vaccination Days” to encourage community college and private university students in Illinois to get vaccinated. One mass vaccination was held in Rockford.

Auman said the Ogle County Health Department had reached out to schools in the county to get 16-18-year-olds vaccinated. He said so far, more than 350 high school students have been vaccinated, but more need to get their shots.

He said they are also seeing two variants of COVID-19 in the county, with both being more transmissible that the original strain. And regional hospital bed availability has fallen below 20 percent.

“That is kind of a warning,” Auman said.

The good news is that vaccine allocations in the county are strong, he said. The county has more than 1,000 doses in stock.

“But what we’re seeing is people aren’t going to get vaccinated as much as they were,” Auman said.

One reason could be the pause recently placed on using the Johnson & Johnson vaccine due to blood clot concerns. The county is using Moderna now and Auman encouraged those who have not been vaccinated to do so.

Overall, there have been a total of 5,780 COVID-19 cases in Ogle County with 78 deaths. The county has administered 28,368 doses, with 12,019 county residents being fully vaccinated. That is 23.6 percent.

“We really need to try to get above 60 percent, and really, above 70 percent would be fantastic,” Auman said.