While COVID transmission remains high in the region, two local counties continue to have more than one-third of residents unvaccinated.

In Rock Island County, 65 people are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 and eight more people died from the virus in the past week, bringing the total deaths to 457, according to a Friday release. The average age of newly infected patients is 38. While 60.6 percent of Rock Island County residents (age 5 and up) are fully vaccinated, that number is 59.9 percent in Whiteside County.

Rock Island County saw 1,217 new COVID cases in the past week and Whiteside had even more, at 1,533 cases. Whiteside County had five additional deaths, bringing their total fatalities to 212.

The health departments recommend getting vaccinated or boosted as soon as you can. Visit vaccines.gov to find your shot. RICHD offers walk-in vaccines on Tuesdays (Moderna and Johnson & Johnson) and Fridays (Pfizer, including children ages 5 and older). The hours for both days are 9 a.m. to noon and 1-4 p.m. Boosters or third doses for immunocompromised people are available on the same day as first and second doses.

No appointments are needed for any Rock Island County COVID vaccination clinic.

Illinois now exceeds 30,000 COVID deaths

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) Friday reported 123,812 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Illinois, including an increase of 843 deaths since Jan. 21, 2022.

Currently, IDPH is reporting a total of 2,897,174 cases, including 30,688 deaths, in 102 counties in Illinois. As of last night, 4,533 individuals in Illinois were reported to be in the hospital with COVID. Of those, 800 patients were in the ICU and 460 patients with COVID were on ventilators, the department reported.

U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) visited Abbott Laboratories in Gurnee Friday, and met with Chairman and CEO Robert B. Ford, as well as other officials to emphasize that consistent and easily-accessible rapid antigen testing is one of the keys that will help our nation overcome the ongoing pandemic.

Duckworth also recognized the efforts of the hardworking Americans who help ensure that rapid COVID tests make it to clinics, homes and schools across the nation.

U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), left, visiting Abbott Laboratories in Gurnee, Ill., on Jan. 28, 2022.

“We have the Americans who return to work, day in and day out, at places like Illinois’s own Abbott to thank for the rapid COVID-19 tests that guide so many of our important health decisions,” Duckworth said in a release. “I’m glad I had this opportunity to visit Abbott today and see first-hand the important work they do. I will continue to do all I can in Congress to support rapid antigen testing in Illinois and across the country.”

“We appreciated the opportunity to show Senator Duckworth how we produce tens of millions of rapid tests each month right here in Illinois, employing thousands of hardworking people,” Ford said. “Maintaining a stable base of U.S. manufacturing will be key to responding to new variants and surges, keeping kids in school, and helping ensure our economy and workplaces stay vibrant and open.”

Duckworth’s visit comes during the same month that the Biden administration announced the purchase of 50 million rapid tests from Abbott, as part of 500 million tests the administration has purchased to provide to Americans for free.

Lee County and Whiteside County Health Departments are partnering with IDPH and Sauk Valley Community College to hold a vaccine clinic Saturday, Jan. 29th from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. All eligible vaccines and doses will be available. Individuals can walk-in the day of the clinic or pre-register HERE.

Every home in the U.S. can get four free at-home COVID tests by visiting COVIDtests.gov.