ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Due to an “alarming” increase in COVID-19 patients at local hospitals, Winnebago County Chairman Joe Chiarelli has issued a Disaster Proclamation for the entire county.

The official declaration is meant to activate the Emergency Operations Center to coordinate resources and enable emergency assistance from the federal government.

“My experience being hospitalized with COVID identified a need for not only prevention, but intervention, and I want to advocate for additional treatment options to be readily available to Winnebago County residents,” said Chiarelli.

The disaster declaration applies for 7 days, beginning December 8th, 2021. An extension requires the consent of the Winnebago County Board, which will be taken up at the next meeting on December 9th.

Winnebago County last declared a COVID-19 disaster on November 13, 2020.