While COVID transmission remains high in Rock Island County, the number of cases fell over the past week by 69.56%. Hospitalizations in the county also have fallen from 71 people last week to 40 this week, though some of that decrease is because patients died, according to the health department weekly report.

The average age of newly infected patients is 37. There were 615 new COVID cases in Rock Island County the past week, with seven additional deaths (bringing the county total to 464), said Janet Hill, chief operating officer for the health department.

“We’re cautiously optimistic that cases have fallen in the last week. We also are thrilled to see that the vaccination rate jumped 2% in the last week,” she said Friday, noting 63% of county residents (age 5 and up) are fully vaccinated.

“The keys to ending the pandemic and getting back to normal are vaccination, including boosters when eligible, consistent masking in public, keeping as much distance as possible from others in public, staying home when you are sick, and washing your hands frequently,” Hill said.

The health department also will have a special vaccination clinic for children (ages 5-17) tomorrow, Saturday, Feb. 5. The hours for this special clinic are 9 a.m. to noon at the health department, 2112 25th Ave., Rock Island. No appointments are needed.

Over 600 COVID deaths in Illinois since Jan. 28

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) today reported 60,389 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Illinois, including an increase of 608 deaths since Jan. 28, 2022.  The number of cases reported this week (60,389) is less than half as many reported during the previous week (123,812), the department said Friday in a release.

A worker prepares to administer a COVID-19 test at the 2022 Winter Olympics, Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2022, in Beijing. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Currently, IDPH is reporting a total of 2,957,563 cases, including 31,296 deaths, in 102 counties in Illinois.  The age of cases ranges from younger than one to older than 100 years.  As of last night, 3,135 people in Illinois were reported to be in the hospital with COVID-19. Of those, 546 patients were in the ICU and 314 patients with COVID were on ventilators. 

A total of 20,623,484 vaccines have been administered in Illinois, including 200,384 doses in the past week. Of Illinois’ total population, more than 75% has received at least one COVID vaccine dose, 66% of Illinois’ total population is fully vaccinated, and more than 47% boosted, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Additional information and COVID-19 data can be found at https://dph.illinois.gov/covid19.html.

N95 masks more effective

A study released by the CDC Friday shows that people who reported wearing a N95 or KN95 respirator consistently in public were 83% less likely to test positive for COVID than those who didn’t, Hill said. Surgical mask and cloth masks, while less effective than a respirator, also reduced infection rates in the study.

“The main message is we all should wear a mask while in public because they work,” Hill said. “Everyone, especially those with underlying health conditions, should consider upgrading their mask to a N95 or KN95 respirator. Some unscrupulous people are selling counterfeit respirators online.”

The CDC offers advice on how to spot one of these fakes: https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/npptl/usernotices/counterfeitResp.html

The health department continues to offer vaccination clinics twice a week: Moderna and Johnson & Johnson on Tuesdays for those 18 and older and Pfizer on Fridays for those 5 and older. No appointments are needed for any Rock Island County Health Department vaccination clinic.

If those days and times don’t fit into your schedule, visit vaccines.gov to find your shot.