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After Early Summer Lull, COVID Cases Rising in the QC

covid briefing 8.19.21.PNG
Scott County Health Department
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COVID cases for Scott County, but the image for Rock Island County would be similar

Vaccination continues to be the best protection against COVID-19, along with masking and social distancing.

That's according to Doctor Louis Katz, Medical Director of the Scott County Health Department. He says the delta variant is more contagious than earlier versions of the virus, and is even infecting people who've been vaccinated - called breakthrough infections.

"We're seeing more breakthroughs but the vaccines are still very effective. The large majority of vaccinees who have breakthrough will not get sick or require care, and the large majority of nationwide hospitalizations, icu admissions, and deaths are in the un-vaccinated."

This variant, and the still, high number of un-vaccinated people has pushed up the number of local cases to more than ten times higher than in June and early July.

Rising infections are also putting a strain on local hospitals. Dr. Kurt Andersen, Senior Vice President of Genesis Health System, says one month ago Genesis had four COVID patients - now it's treating 29, and eleven of them are in the ICU.

"The intensive care unit patients get a special mention because of the fact that they have very high intensity levels of care requiring very low staffing ratios - many of them one-to-one or two-to-one nursing ratio, and they have very long lengths of stay in the icu."

It's the same at UnityPoint Health Trinity. CEO Robert Erickson says in July it had no COVID patients, but now there are 41, with an average age of 43. Positive tests in its clinics are up eight per cent, and their average age is 32.