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Winnebago County leaders ask the public to help stop the COVID-19 surge

Only two Intensive Care Unit beds are available in Rockford
Published: Jan. 10, 2022 at 6:34 PM CST
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - With only ICU beds available and new COVID-19 cases averaging 500 each day, Winnebago County enters what health leaders call “crisis mode.” COVID-19 is prominent in the community and local leaders maintain the best course of action is to stay up to date on vaccinations. Out of all the people in the hospital, 90% are unvaccinated.

Winnebago County board chairman Joe Chiarelli discovered the dangers of COVID-19 first hand.

“When I first tested for COVID-19 on November 3rd I was asymptomatic. On November 10th I was fully paralyzed from my legs, my arm movements, difficulty breathing, I was coughing up blood,” Chiarelli said.

Chiarelli says he’ll ask the Winnebago County board to extend the local disaster declaration past January 31st. Here’s why: the positivity rate for COVID-19 in the county hit 20.5% Friday, the highest on record

“We want to make sure we have coordinated response. That’s what the declaration does, it coordinates resources and response to COVID-19,” Chiarelli said at the Monday Afternoon press conference.

Public health administrator for the county, Dr Sandra Martell, urges people to protect themselves and says our hospitals pay the price when we don’t.

Martell says it’s very simple, get vaccinated. Winnebago County currently has a 54% vaccination rate, with only 19% getting a booster. To decrease the number of people who go to the hospital, Martell says it’s essential the public gets these shots.

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