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COVID-19: Local Health Officials Are Beyond Worried

U.S. Army Medical Response Team Members Conduct Routine Hospital Work
Sgt. Kaden Pitt/Defense Department Support to FE
U.S. Army
U.S. Army Capt. Jason Webb, a critical care nurse assigned to the 627th Hospital Center, and Capt. Corrine Brown, also a critical care nurse assigned to the 627th Hospital Center, prepare to move a COVID-positive patient during COVID response operations at Kootenai Health regional medical center in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, Oct. 7, 2021.  (file, public domain)

Total COVID-19 deaths and cases have increased dramatically this month in the Quad Cities. Hospitals are full of infected patients, and recovery takes weeks.

janet hill.jpg
WVIK News, Marianna Bacallao
Janet Hill, Chief Operating Officer of the Rock Island County Health Department at the mass vaccination clinic in Milan

Janet Hill, CFO and PIO of the Rock Island County Health Department, started the latest Quad Cities COVID press conference (12/15/2021) by describing 2020 as, "A period of darkness, suffering, and death." And now, a year after vaccinations became available, she said, "We’re still living in that shadowy time before the sun fully rises."

"In the Quad-Cities, we sit at a 60% vaccination rate," Hill said. "That means that 40% of those eligible to be vaccinated have not stepped into the light to end the pandemic. We’re back to overflowing hospitals, exhausted healthcare and public health workers, and grieving families. Except this time, it’s all preventable."

The latest COVID numbers show 17 Quad Cities residents died from December 9th through the 15th. At the same time, 1,128 new cases were reported. In all, as of Thursday, 12/16/2021, 705 have died. Case counts are at 50,721 and rising. But hospitals are already full and postponing surgeries.

Amy Thoreson is the Director of the Scott County Health Department. "As a member of this community, who lives here, works here, and is raising a family here, I am scared that both of the hospital systems that my family and I depend on for care when we need it may not be available for us. I’m also frustrated. Public health has no other tools at its disposal to change the current COVID-19 situation around."

In Scott and Rock Island counties, about 40% of those five and older have NOT been vaccinated. That's approximately 118,000 people.

2021 12 17 qc deaths since mid june.png

Thoreson says, "It is now up to our community. It is up to each resident to make a choice to be part of the solution or, unfortunately, be part of the problem. You may not like the options in front of you: vaccines and masks. But you can’t like this situation in front of you either if you need medical care for you or your family. Choices are hard. Now is the time to act."

2021 12 20 reg 2 hosp util.jpg
Illinois Department of Public Health
Illinois Department of Public Health, https://dph.illinois.gov/covid19/data/hospitalization-utilization.html
Illinois Region 2 hospitals report only 16 ICU beds are available. (Screenshot)

Dr. Kurt Andersen from Genesis Health System is asking people to get vaccinated and do their part to slow down the spread of severe COVID-19 cases.

And Nita Ludwig, Administrator of the Rock Island County Health Department, says, "We have been averaging 150 shots per clinic day. We can do more shots on these days. Please stop in and get vaccinated. There are also many pharmacies, Community Health Care, and other providers in our county to obtain a vaccination. Find your shot at www.vaccines.gov. The time to act is now."

Please note, Genesis Health System supports WVIK as an underwriter.

Officially, Michelle's title is WVIK News Editor which really just means she wears many hats, doing everything there is to do in the newsroom and around the radio station. She's a multimedia journalist and serves as Assignment Editor, reporter, radio news producer, copy editor, announcer, news anchor/host, and photographer. She also writes and produces content for WVIK.org and social media and trains interns.
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