Register for as many COVID-19 vaccine appointments as possible, says Dr. Martell

Local News

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Winnebago County Health Department director Dr. Sandra Martell asked for patience for people eligible for Phase 1B of the coronavirus vaccine rollout who have yet to received an appointment.

Martell said there has been some confusion with multiple registration systems coming online, including options from Walgreens, Mercyhealth and other providers.

She urged residents to sign up for an appointment with as many providers as possible.

“Without a national strategy, everyone really had to plan for their own regional approach,” Martell said. “So, now you see Walgreens has a registration system. We have a registration system. I know there are some that are thinking if they should only register on one system or can they register on multiple. I don’t think it hurts to have redundancy from an emergency preparedness perspective, so register on as many systems as are appropriate for you to register on. And then when your opportunity comes up, please get vaccinated.”

“I don’t think that’s gaming the system. I think that’s being reasonable,” she added.

Martell said the WCHD and it’s pharmacy and healthcare partners are working through a process to vaccinate the most vulnerable first.

“I know this has been a very exciting week,” Martell said, adding that the county has still been working to vaccinate people eligible for Phase 1A of the vaccine rollout. That includes frontline healthcare workers and people in long-term care and integrated living arrangements.

First responders, security personnel, school staff, bus drivers, food and agriculture workers, Winnebago County jail staff and inmates, Uber and Lyft drivers, postal workers are in Phase 1B, which is underway now, Martell said.

Martell said the health department has been currently focused on getting vaccines to those groups specifically, and are allowing pharmacies and healthcare systems to focus on other eligible residents, including those over 65.

She added that the rollout in Winnebago County has been slower than some other areas because “Larger municipalities, like Rockford, have more employer considerations than other rural areas.”

Martell said over 5,000 people in the county have received both doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, and they are working to provide 5,000 vaccinations per week.

“This is truly all-hands-on deck. We are your community, your neighbors, your friends, your colleagues and we are working hard to vaccinate to all of you,” she said.

Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara applauded Region 1’s move into the less restrictive Phase 4 mitigations after the rolling 7-day testing positivity rate fell below 6.5%. He asked that residents stay focused on observing hand washing and social distancing.

McNamara said over 7,148 households in the Rockford area alone have received assistance with their utility bills, and said those who need help should call the City at 844-710-6919.

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) today reported 3,751 new confirmed and probable cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Illinois, including 81 additional deaths.

The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity for cases as a percent of total test from January 20–26, 2021 is 4.5%. The preliminary seven-day statewide test positivity from January 20–26, 2021 is 5.6%.

Region 1’s 7-day rolling positivity average: 5.7%

Boone: 10.4%
Carroll: 4.3%
DeKalb: 9.8%
Jo Daviess: 6.3%
Lee: 1.2%
Ogle: 6.1%
Stephenson: 4.4%
Whiteside: 6.4%
Winnebago: 5.6%

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