Winnebago County hospitals ‘flooded’ with COVID-19 cases, officials say – Community News
Covid-19

Winnebago County hospitals ‘flooded’ with COVID-19 cases, officials say

ROCKFORD, Illinois (WTVO) — Hospitals in Winnebago County are “flooded” with COVID-19 patients as the country experiences a wave of coronavirus.

dr. Sandra Martell, director of the Winnebago County Health Department and Dr. OSF Chief Medical Officer Stephen Bartlett said the county is underperforming neighboring counties, including Cook County, because a higher percentage of Winnebago County residents are not vaccinated.

“We’re seeing younger people getting sick with COVID than a year ago,” Bartlett said. “I cannot emphasize enough that we are in the middle of a new wave.”

Martell said there are currently two babies in the ICU with COVID-19 symptoms.

Only 13% of hospitalized patients are fully vaccinated, Martell said.

“It’s very rare for an ICU stay for people who have been vaccinated,” Bartlett said. “It’s a much milder infection if you’re vaccinated.”

Mayor Tom McNamara said Joe Chiarelli, chairman of the board of directors for Winnebago County, tested positive for COVID and was admitted to a hospital, where he was treated

Martell said the county has been in the Illinois Department of Public Health’s High Risk Transmission category for two months. “It’s like blowing through every traffic light,” she said.

The current transmission rate is 502 cases per 100,000, with a 7-day rolling positivity rate of more than 10%, Martell said. She added that 126 people had been hospitalized for severe COVID symptoms and local emergency departments are full.

“If the increase got worse, we could have staffing problems,” Bartlett said.

Martell berated residents for going outside while sick and possibly spreading the virus. When you’re sick, that means don’t shop, don’t exercise, don’t go to the movies. It means staying home.”

She added that residents should not have Thanksgiving dinner, exposed, with unvaccinated people.

“I’ve heard we’re just going to get through this and it won’t be a big deal,” she said. “It is not yet endemic. It still rules our lives, our businesses, our schools. We need to take control. We need to mask, wash, backup and vaxx.”

“There is a growing concern” that the state could bring back restaurant closures, Martell said.

“Breakthrough infections are no reason not to get vaccinated. We understand that immunity wanes. We had approval of the booster doses for everyone 18 years and older,” Martell said. “If it’s been six months since you got your first dose of the Pfizer or Moderna, it’s time to take it. months since you got a Janssen or Johnson and Johnson, take your booster shot.