‘We do have a lot of hope’: One year into the pandemic in the Quad Cities

Local News

Masking up and social distancing. It’s been a year since we first heard those terms.

Now, we talk about them almost every day.

Our lives changed drastically during 2020, the year of the pandemic.

Local health departments hope 2021 is the year it comes to an end and people get vaccinated.

It has been a tough 12 months of educating the public, sharing information with the media, setting up testing sites and then vaccination clinics.

2020 felt like a nightmare for many. Schools shut down, jobs were lost and the economy struggled as people got sick.

It’s also been a year of recovery for a local man who caught COVID-19 early.

When Jeff Deppe, Rock Island County Board Member, was diagnosed with the virus, the State of Illinois understood that the pandemic had already made it to our area.

“My temperature was 103.7, and it just went from there,” says Deppe.

He spent 14 days in the hospital before he was released.

“When you’re in a room, and you’re isolated by yourself, everybody is in plastic or rubber gear face shields. So yeah, you do think about, am I going to die?” says Deppe.

Janet Hill Chief Operating Officer at the Rock Island County Health Department says it’s been a long year.

“Our first death was April 7. By the end of May, we had 27 deaths. We were like, ‘Oh my gosh, this is just horrible. We’ve got to do everything that we can,'” says Hill.

Deppe says he is lucky to have survived.

“When I was in the hospital, I did get two heart attacks from COVID. Last week, I took a PET stress test to find out there is no medical surgeries that need to be done,” says Deppe.

Hill says the vaccinations being administered provide a glimmer of hope.

For now, continued social distancing, masking and hand washing is necessary as vaccinations continue.

“We do have a lot of hope. We are seeing a growing amount of vaccine in this; however, the pandemic is not over. A pandemic means this is a worldwide issue,” says Hill.

Deppe says, “Be vigilant to wear a mask because it is someone’s mother, father, grandmother, grandfather. We still know people who are dying, so let’s not give up too fast.”

We also reached out to Scott County Health Department. They sent a statement saying:

“Next week is the one-year year mark of the QC COVID-19 Coalition, and our community’s collaborative response to COVID-19. From our first case of COVID in a Scott County resident on March 21 to our tsunami of cases in November, our community has experienced more challenges, barriers and frustrations than we ever could have imagined. Then, COVID-19 vaccines became authorized and truly changed the landscape of this pandemic! We are holding our breath as we see light at the end of the tunnel due to a more steady supply of vaccine making its way into our community. We are not there quite yet, but we are so close. Hold on, mask up and wait excitedly and patiently for your dose of vaccine.”

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