Latest on COVID trends, vaccine information in Whiteside Co.

TV6 spoke with the Whiteside County Health Department to see how they’re doing and what they know so far as plans for vaccine distribution are being put into place.
Published: Dec. 2, 2020 at 7:50 PM CST
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WHITESIDE CO., Ill. (KWQC) - Illinois is starting to see a slight decrease in positivity rates, but health officials say it’s not time to let up just yet. TV6 spoke with the Whiteside County Health Department to see how they’re doing and what they know so far as plans for vaccine distribution are being put into place.

As the state of Illinois continues to operate under tier 3 mitigations, the Whiteside County Health Department said many factors contribute to the trends.

“I think we’re gonna probably see a lot of different factors playing into why those cases are going down, especially since it’s statewide that we’re seeing that trend,” said Cheryl Lee, the Whiteside County Health Department CEO. “I’m going to say that yes the things that we put into place are definitely helping out, but to say it’s one thing in particular I don’t think that we have the data to support that yet.”

Lee believes one of the factors include an increased sense of awareness.

“I think too, people are becoming a little bit more aware of that one symptom they have maybe COVID and I think just the overall awareness because if we can catch it early on, that’s less people they would have been exposed to,” she said.

They haven’t seen the data following the Thanksgiving holiday just yet.

“It’s that time frame of giving it enough time to see if we have cases that will come through with that. Of course with the holidays...testing may have been down a little bit or the reporting coming in from the laboratory as well, so there’s always that delay in reporting,” she said.

As plans for vaccine distribution continues across the country, Lee said they’re preparing.

“We meet regularly with the state and with our internal group and we know that when the vaccine comes, in group 1A, we will be working with our healthcare providers with the guidance of the state knowing that these groups are going to be the high risk and the first group of individuals who will get that. We don’t know what our allotment will be so you know again we’ll have to wait and see what that brings.”

Many of the logistics haven’t been determined yet, but there are some things they do know.

“When you get vaccinated it’ll be a two-dose. So you’ll have to get the first dose and whatever vaccine you start with, that manufacturer will also have to be your second dose,” she said.

Officials with the health department said the numbers aren’t great, but they’re going in the right direction.

“We know there’s some treatment things coming down the road. We hear about the vaccine coming and so we have to stay the course so we can get back to try to be as normal as we can as soon as we can,” she said. “We have to remember there was a time when over 8% was not good and so we still need to remember that while we’re thankful that it’s coming down, it’s still not good. We really can need to continue to bring those cases down.”

“This is a pandemic. None of us have been through this before and you can’t go anywhere in the world to escape it so coming together as a community, and trying to help each other will get us through this quicker and we’re thankful for everybody trying to do their part the best that they can.”

The Whiteside County Health Department announced that the deadline for enrollment in the Pharmacy Partnership for Long-term Care (LTC) Program has been extended through Friday, December 4, 2020. The program will facilitate direct COVID-19 vaccine distribution and administration. The health department is urging all LTC and congregate facilities providing care to residents who have not already enrolled to contact them as soon as possible.

Whiteside has developed a survey to assist with the enrollment process.

Officials with the health department said the program is a great opportunity for rural care facilities like those in their region to receive access to services that will work to facilitate swift, safe vaccination of these at-risk populations and help reduce the burden on their staff and resources.

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