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"Substantial" Community Transmission of COVID in McDonough County

Rich Egger

The McDonough County Health Department said community spread of COVID-19 in the county is now at what the CDC calls a substantial level.

The department believes the recent rise in cases locally is due to the Delta variant, which is more contagious than previous strains of the virus.

The health department is now reporting 3,041 cases of COVID-19 in the county since the pandemic began in early 2020. That compares to 2,999 cases the week before.

The department said 2,935 people infected with the virus have recovered, 62 have died, and there are 44 active cases.

The department said it supports the CDC’s recommendation to resume mask wearing in many indoor public settings. The agency is also recommending people get vaccinated.

But the percentage of people fully vaccinated against COVID-19 remains low in west central Illinois, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health:

  • Knox 45.53%
  • Fulton 44.46%
  • Adams 41.47%
  • Brown 41.38%
  • Mason 41.23%
  • Schuyler 40.18%
  • McDonough 38.10%
  • Warren 37.49%
  • Hancock 30.93%
  • Henderson 21.64%

The IDPH reported 50.70% of the state’s population is fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Vaccines are available only to those age 12 and older. It could be months before a vaccine is ready for younger children.
Vaccine Urged for Vulnerable Populations

A medical practitioner at Western Illinois University is also people who are already battling health issues to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Michael Walters of the Beau Health Center said people with underlying health conditions could end up even sicker if they don’t get a COVID-19 vaccination.

“(Those health conditions include) hypertension, obese people, people with kidney disease, people with diabetes. Also people with coronary artery disease,” Walters said. “All those people are at increased risk of having severe complications.”

Walters says the vaccines are 95% effective. He said while some people might experience side effects from getting a shot, its benefits far outweigh any discomfort.

Walters also said the vaccines don’t decrease fertility and don’t have any effect on pregnancy. 

The Situation in Iowa

Iowa Public Radio reported COVID-19 hospitalizations are climbing in Iowa. IPR reported 158 Iowans were hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Thursday, July 29. The number was 46 in late June.

Iowa’s coronavirus website reported that COVID-19 has been the underlying cause or a contributing factor in 76 deaths in Des Moines County and 58 deaths in Lee County.

61% of adult Iowans are fully vaccinated.

Tri States Public Radio produced this story.  TSPR relies on financial support from our readers and listeners in order to provide coverage of the issues that matter to west central Illinois, southeast Iowa, and northeast Missouri. As someone who values the content created by TSPR's news department please consider making a financial contribution.

Rich is TSPR's News Director.