Officials in Winnebago County have issued a disaster proclamation amid increasing numbers of COVID cases and hospitalizations in the area.
In a press release, Winnebago County Board Chairman Joseph Chiarelli has declared a local disaster for a period of seven days, retroactive to Wednesday.
According to the release, the declaration will lend additional support to the Winnebago County Health Department, as well as emergency management agencies for the county and for the city of Rockford.
The proclamation also opens up funding from both state and federal sources to combat the rising number of cases and hospitalizations.
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The proclamation will be in effect for seven days, and after that the county board would need to renew it, according to officials.
In a statement, Chiarelli says that his experience being hospitalized for COVID compelled him to make the decision.
“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,” he said in a statement.
Expanded access to treatments, including monoclonal antibodies and other types of in-person and virtual care will also be given to individuals who have tested positive for the virus, according to the release.
As cases escalate around the state, Winnebago County has been one of the areas hardest hit by COVID cases in recent weeks.
According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, the county has reported 1,805 new COVID cases in the last week. It is averaging 638.78 new cases of COVID per 100,000 residents in the last week, and has a positivity rate of just under 11% on all tests performed.
The CDC says that any county experiencing 100 or more new cases per 100,000 residents in a given week is considered to have a “high transmission” level of the virus.
Region 1, representing a section of northwestern Illinois that includes Winnebago County, has 17 ICU beds available as of Thursday. The region’s positivity rate is slowly declining, dropping to 9.6% as of Dec. 6, and it’s ICU bed availability has steadied in recent days, although it is still extremely low at 11%.
Hospitalizations have continued to increase in the region, however, increasing on 29 of the last 30 days.