Martell urges families to hold virtual Christmas, says social mitigations having impact on COVID-19 infections

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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Winnebago County Health Department Director Dr. Sandra Martell said social mitigations are having an impact on COVID-19 infections, saying new cases are decreasing across the county.

Although Illinois Region 1’s rolling positivity rate for COVID-19 has been under 10% for six days in a row, Gov. JB Pritzker has shown reluctance to roll back restrictions until after the holidays, for fear of a post-Christmas surge.

On Friday, Pritzker said the state is watching a “trajectory of hospitalizations and cases” before he considers moving the region back to Tier 2 mitigations.

“We’re working very hard to bring it down all across the state before we begin start to relieve the regions from Tier 3 to Tier 2,” Pritzker said. “Once again, bars and restaurants would not reopen under Tier 2. There’s a ways to go.”

Martell said it would not be prudent to lessen restrictions now only to confront a post-Christmas surge and shut businesses down again, and urged residents to hold virtual Christmas events with their families.

Over 100,000 healthcare workers have been vaccinated across the state, and Illinois has administered the highest number of vaccinations so far in the U.S.

Martell said Winnebago County has vaccinated 5,146 healthcare workers locally to date, and both CVS and Walgreens will begin vaccinating long-term residents and staff next week.

She also said the coronavirus has been responsible for 336 deaths in Winnebago County so far, and encouraged continued vigilance, urging families to avoid gathering for the holidays.

Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara said those residents who have canceled their Christmas plans “have made the right choice.”

McNamara said, “Looking ahead to 2021, there are definitely brighter days ahead,” saying the arrival of the coronavirus vaccines gives him a glimpse of the light at the end of the tunnel.

Dr. Martell also announced that the UIC Campus testing facility on Parkview will relocated to the former K-Mart near Sandy Hollow and 11th Street, starting January 2nd.

Region 1’s 7-day rolling positivity average: 9.1% (9.4% yesterday)

Boone: 15.2% (15.5% yesterday)
Carroll: 6.2% (7.1 % yesterday)
DeKalb: 10.9% (11.6% yesterday)
Jo Daviess: 7.9% (7.4% yesterday)
Lee: 4% (4.3% yesterday)
Ogle: 11.8% (11.4% yesterday)
Stephenson: 8% (8% yesterday)
Whiteside: 9.4% (8.5% yesterday)
Winnebago: 9.3% (10% yesterday)

The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity for cases as a percent of total test from December 16 – December 22, 2020 is 7.5%. The preliminary seven-day statewide test positivity
from December 16 – December 22, 2020 is 9.0%.

Today, the Illinois Department of Public Health reported 6,762 cases of coronavirus in Illinois, including 135 additional deaths.

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