ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Winnebago County recorded 588 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, the highest single day number ever reported since the pandemic began.

The rolling 7-day test positivity rate climbed to 16.6% and the three Rockford hospitals are caring for 200 patients either positive or suspected of being positive for the disease.

The Winnebago County Health Department said all local emergency departments are operating at peak, and hospitals have postponed elective surgeries to preserve staffing levels.

“COVID-19 vaccines are safe, effective, widely available, and free. The average age of those with COVID-19 is decreasing and I stress the urgency of actions that need to be taken by the community immediately,” said Dr. Sandra Martell, Public Health Administrator, Winnebago County Health Department.