Rock Island faced a tumultuous week of COVID-19 cases surging across the community. The highly contagious delta variant has reached people of all ages showing, once again, it does not discriminate.
The Rock Island County Health Department saw its youngest COVID-19 related death to date this week– this includes cases in 2020 when the pandemic was first breaking out. A young man in his 20’s passed away. The health department worries about this trajectory the pandemic seems to be taking in the area — reporting new cases in the triple digits for the first time since the delta variant surge began to take off — another alarming, but noteworthy mark in COVID-19 coverage.
Representatives remind the community, the best protection against the virus is still to get vaccinated. Despite mask mandates in the state of Illinois, children are still at risk, according to health officials, as they are ineligible to receive the vaccine.
“We know that when people are in close quarters viral transmission will go up,” Janet Hill, the Chief Operating Officer with the Rock Island Health Department explains, “School is one of those settings.”
Regarding the vaccine — while kids under the age of 12 remain unprotected from the delta variant, the health department says through contact tracing they’ve learned many cases of COVID-19 are spread through households and that parents choosing to getting the shot… could protect their families and children.
“It [increased cases in school-aged children] is also an indication that shows that the parents of school-aged children have not taken advantage of vaccination yet.” Hill added. “People who are younger feel invincible. Delta is showing that even our youngest residents are very much vulnerable to becoming seriously ill.”