Rural communities face COVID-19 response supply shortages amid surge in cases

Local News

The Rock Island County Health Department reported five new COVID-19 deaths Friday, bringing the total number of deaths in the county to 405.

This comes as cases continue to surge across the Quad Cities.

More rural communities say they have been hit exceptionally hard by the pandemic.

The Whiteside County Health Department recently held a virtual meeting with representatives from local businesses and the Illinois Department of Public Health to discuss how small towns like theirs are experiencing shortages in COVID-19 response supplies.

Cheryl Lee, the county’s public health administrator, says a rise in cases following Thanksgiving has put increased pressure on hospital resources.

“You can only staff 10, and you have 9 people in there, you’re at 90% capacity, so there’s competing factors,” said Lee. “As we look for COVID with increasing cases, more people getting sick from it — not necessarily the severity of illness — it is concerning because the hospitals also have to take care of car accidents … flu, for example.”

Representatives from the Whiteside County Health Department say, while there may be limited hospital staff and resources to treat COVID-19 and other emergency situations, they have sufficient supply of the vaccine.

The health department encourages people to get a booster shot to minimize the pressure placed on healthcare workers.

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