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McDonough County Health Department: 'People we know are sick and hospitalized and dying'

Rich Egger/file photo
Lynn Van Pelt, an RN at MDH, drawing up COVID-19 vaccine on April 7, 2021.

As the COVID-19 pandemic drags on, the McDonough County Health Department is asking residents for help.

“Get vaccinated. Get boostered,” Public Information Officer Nichole Duffy said in an interview with TSPR.

“Stay home if you’re sick. That is so, so, so important. Stay home if you’re sick. And if you have symptoms – even if you think it’s a cold, even if you think it’s allergies, even if you think it’s that thing that you get at this time of year every year – go get tested.”

Duffy also urged businesses to enforce masking.

She said the department has given the community all of the guidance and tools it needs to combat the virus. Now residents need to put those to use.

The health department issued a release that said, “What we are seeing now is like nothing we have seen since our fight against COVID began. Cases are soaring. Our vaccination rate remains low. Hospitals are reaching capacity and struggling to provide care. People we know are sick and hospitalized and dying. So we are asking you for help.”

According to data from the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), more than a thousand new cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in McDonough County since the beginning of December.  

That accounts for 20% of all COVID cases in the county since the start of the pandemic. 

Duffy said part of the blame for low vaccination rates lies with misinformation on social media.

“These days people tend to have created an echo chamber for themselves where the only thing that they’re taking in is what they hear. It’s really hard to break through that wall of misinformation,” she said.

The IDPH reported 45.5% of McDonough County’s residents are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Cass, Knox, and Fulton are the only counties in this region with rates of more than 50%. Details can be found on the IDPH website.

Vaccination rates for southeast Iowa can be found on the Iowa Department of Public Health website, and data for northeast Missouri is on the Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services website.

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.