Cook measures the lowest COVID-19 transmission rate in the state, but it’s not out of the woods
Cook County maintains Illinois’ lowest COVID-19 transmission rate per capita, followed by Carroll, Kane and DuPage Counties, Illinois Department of Public Health data showed Tuesday.
Cook, which is also Illinois’s largest county, measured a transmission rate of 130.6 new cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 people over seven days. Kane stands at 145.6 new cases per capita and DuPage recorded 148.6 between September 13 and Sunday.
McHenry County had a transmission rate of 162.1, Lake County was 165.3, and Will County was 171.3.
Locations with 100 or more cases are classified as “high” transmission rates for the virus.
However, the transferability values do not necessarily match the vaccination rates.
According to IDPH, DuPage has the highest number of fully vaccinated people in the metropolitan area at 64%. Cook comes next, registering 60% of its residents as fully vaccinated, followed by Lake at 57%, then Kane, McHenry and Will, all hovering at 55% levels.
“There may be several factors influencing the slightly higher case activity in DuPage Counties compared to Cook and Kane Counties,” said DuPage County’s Department of Health spokeswoman Stephanie Calvillo. “With the COVID-19 case activity at a high level in DuPage and the surrounding districts, DCHD, together with our partners, continues to encourage everyone over the age of 12 to be vaccinated against COVID-19.”
The latest data came when the total number of COVID-19 infections in Illinois topped 1.6 million on Tuesday.
On Wednesday, a panel from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control will consider whether to approve the use of a Pfizer / BioNTech COVID-19 booster syringe. The meeting follows a surprising Friday when experts from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration declined giving Pfizer boosters to the general public but recommended them for people 65 and over.
“I am glad that a decision has been made and people aged 65 and over can get a booster,” said Governor JB Pritzker at an event in the Palatinate. “We prepared for it so that people would have it for them (in different places).”
Chicago Department of Health Commissioner Allison Arwady has broken it down further. “I think it is appropriate for them to think about boosters for the elderly, especially those in nursing homes,” said Arwady, adding that the population is more prone to serious breakthrough cases. “It could be over time, as we have more data, additional groups could be added.”
In the meantime, “don’t try to mix and match (boosters) yourself at this point,” she said. “If you got the vaccine from Moderna or Johnson & Johnson and you say, ‘Oh, I’m over 65 – should I get a dose of Pfizer now?’ – you shouldn’t do that. “
Instead, wait for official updates from the CDC, which will likely come later this week, Arwady said. The government could also extend boosters to health care workers, she noted.
IDPH reported 3,002 new cases of COVID-19 as well as 23 more deaths from the respiratory disease on Tuesday.
13,799 more COVID-19 vaccinations were given on Monday. The 7-day average is 19,366.
Since distribution began in mid-December, the federal government has shipped 17,131,065 doses of vaccine to Illinois and administered 14,354,101 vaccinations.
To date, 6,953,193 people have been fully vaccinated, which is 54.6% of Illinois’ 12.7 million population. Vaccines manufactured by Pfizer Inc. and Moderna Inc. require two doses several weeks apart.
In Illinois, 2,039 COVID-19 patients were treated on Monday night.
The state’s rate of positivity for COVID-19 cases averages nearly 4.1% for seven days, down from 3.6% on Monday.
The death toll from COVID-19 has been 24,661 since the pandemic began.
Labs processed 73,732 virus tests in the past 24 hours.
As of September 1, the state’s total number of COVID-19 cases includes breakthrough infections.
• Daily Herald reporter Russell Lissau contributed to this report.