GENEVA – Kane County officials are alarmed by the surge in COVID-19 cases here and worry that holiday season family gatherings will spread the virus further.

“The positivity rate is surging,” Kane County Health Department Director Barbara Jeffers said. “The community is spreading the virus at a rapid pace.”

Jeffers told the Kane County Board Public Health Committee on Wednesday that while the largest numbers of cases are coming from Aurora and Elgin, the virus is ranging in St. Charles, Geneva and Batavia as well.

“The TriCities have not been spared,” Jeffers said.

Assistant Director for Community Health Michael Isaacson told the committee that residents will be making some tough choices at Thanksgiving and Christmastime.

“We’re encouraging people not to travel. Limit home gatherings to household members,” Isaacson said. “This is hard for people but right now it’s especially important.”

People should stay home as much as possible, Isaacson said.

“These are extreme measures we’re taking to try and bend the curve,” Isaacson said.

With the region about to return to Tier 3 mitigation practices, retail stores and personal care shops will be limited to 25% of capacity, while groceries and pharmacies may operate at 50% of capacity, Isaacson said.

Funerals are limited to 10 family members.

“We see a lot of transmission that way,” Isaacson said.

With indoor service in bars and restaurants already prohibited, Isaacson addressed the controversial matter of enforcement.

“It is complex how we’re able to do enforcement,” Isaacson said. “We focus on the largest areas of disease spread.”

Complaints from residents are taken seriously, Isaacson said.

“We are investigating every complaint,” Isaacson said, by following up with the owner of any business that is open in violation of the ban.

“We try to get them on board to be compliant,” Isaacson said.

Jeffers and Isaacson emphasized the basics: stay home if possible, wear a mask in public, maintain social distancing and wash hands frequently.

County board members on the health committee said residents have become weary of the limitations imposed by the pandemic.

“We need to make sure we are really vigilant,” said committee Chairman Anita Lewis, D-Aurora.

“People are tired of COVID and let their guard down,” Lewis said. “We’ve got to get this under control.”

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