ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — The Winnebago County Health Department warns the county is at a high community level of COVID-19 transmission due to an increase in cases and hospitalizations.

The Winnebago County Health Department (WCHD) is advising residents to take additional actions to protect themselves and those around them from the spread of COVID-19.

Winnebago County’s COVID-19 case rate has exceeded 200 cases per 100,000 and the number of new COVID-19 hospital admissions has exceeded 10.0 per 100,000 population in the last 7 days, which indicates high community level based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) metrics.

The health department advises residents to wear a mask when in public indoor settings, avoid crowded indoor settings, and stay up to date on COVID-19 vaccines and boosters.

“To protect yourself, your family, and community, take the recommended actions to prevent COVID-19 based on community level. This phase of the pandemic emphasizes self-care.” said Dr. Sandra Martell, Public Health Administrator for the Winnebago County Health Department. “Due to the High Community Level of COVID-19, all individuals regardless of vaccination status are strongly encouraged to wear masks when in public indoor settings. If you test positive for COVID-19 contact your healthcare provider right away to see if treatment options are right for you, even if you currently have mild symptoms. Let’s work together to have a safe, healthy, and fun summer.”