In a report today (Wednesday, July 21, 2021) to the Kane County Board Public Health Committee, Director of Health Promotion Uche Onwuta said the Delta variant already accounts for about 78.9% of the cases in Region 5 — which includes Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday that the Delta variant accounts for about 83% of new cases nationwide.
At the Health Committee meeting, Onwuta presented a series of slides that show that Kane County COVID-19 case levels are lower than they have been since the summer of 2020, although “we are seeing a little trending up.”
Vaccination rates in Kane County are high, although less than 49% of the total county population is fully vaccinated. That said, about 90.4% of Kane County’s 65-and-older population and 73.7% of the population age 18 and older have had at least one dose of vaccine.
Onwuta said the vaccines are effective against B.1.617.2 (Delta) variant.
“With the variant, we’re not testing everyone that’s positive for COVID-19,” she said. “It’s a sampling of the population and not very accurate at the county level. (But in Region 5), as of July 17, you can see that right now the Delta variant is overwhelming, at almost 80%. The Delta variant is a problem in the community.”
The symptoms for flu are very similar to those of the Delta variant, Onwuta said.
“Yes, we’re hearing what’s going on around the country,” she said. “The fact that the total vaccination rate is about 49% at this time. The CDC would not even pin down 70% to achieve herd immunity, and we’re not anywhere close to what they were thinking. At this point, I think it’s foolhardy for people to not follow proper precautions, because we’re still in this pandemic. It’s not over yet.”
Onwuta said the Health Department is helping to enforce the CDC guidelines to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Under those guidelines, vaccinated residents do not have to wear face coverings but unvaccinated residents should be wearing masks in public places.
She said Kane County is prepared to ramp up rapidly if there is another spike in COVID-19 cases or if booster shots are recommended. When or if vaccines are OK’d for children under 12, the Health Department is expecting and prepared for the additional volume of shots that will need to be administered.
The Daily Herald and other media sources say Biotech is expected to request emergency use authorization of the Pfizer vaccine from the federal government for younger children in September, but the vaccine would not likely be approved for that age group until the first of the new year.
You can watch the full committee meeting on YouTube.