ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — At a briefing Monday, Dr. Sandra Martell, director of the Winnebago County Health Department, said the county was focusing on actions to combat a resurgence of COVID-19.
Martell said the region has been seeing an increase of positivity rates and hospitalizations.
As of August 2nd, Region 1, which includes Winnebago County, had 5 days of positivity test increases, but the hospitalization status has remained stable, Martell said.
Jo Daviess County, also in the region, was given a warning status on Friday by the Illinois Department of Public Health.
A county enters warning level when a county has 3 consecutive days of an 8% testing positivity rate.
Martell said an increase in positivity rates could be related to residents traveling to and from coronavirus hotspots.
Winnebago County is preparing a tiered response in the event the county experiences a surge.
“A tiered response includes things like non-essential workers continuing to work from home, limiting social activities further, reducing indoor capacity, reducing elective medical procedures,” Martell said.
Regarding in-classroom schooling, Martell said, “We’re all working for the fall for some sort of in-person learning. And that gets jeopardized each time that positivity rate increases.”
Martell said there was an issue with results from state-run testing sites that were beyond the control of the Winnebago County Health Department, and advised residents to call the Illinois coronavirus hotline 1-800-889-3931 if the state confirms a sample was compromised.
Some 3,800 tests from mobile testing sites across the state were part of a test processing delay.
Some employers are requiring multiple negative tests to return to work, she said. “That is not advisable under current guidelines. You cannot test your way out of the [14 day] quarantine period.”
Winnebago County has had 3,669 confirmed cases of coronavirus since the pandemic began, and 115 people have died.
At next week’s briefing, representatives from the Rockford School District are scheduled to give details on the plan for the upcoming school year.
Asked about if there are any regulations about masking on recent protests, Martell says they aren’t policing their way out of the pandemic. She said protest organizers encourage attendees to wear masks and social distance. “At the end of the day, people should wear masks because it’s the right thing to do,” she said.
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