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COVID-19 cases rising in southern Illinois

Published: Jul. 25, 2021 at 9:59 PM CDT
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Ullin, Ill. (KFVS) - Some counties in southern Illinois are at a state-issued COVID-19 “Warning Level.”

A health department is pleading for folks to get vaccinated before it’s too late.

“I don’t know where I thought we would be at this point, but I do think we were hoping we would be a lot further along,” said Shawnna Rhine, Southern 7 Health Department coordinator.

According to Illinois health officials, COVID-19 cases are on the rise and ICU bed availability is on the decline in the S7HD’s area in Illinois.

“We really started to see an increase in numbers just in this past week, which falls in line with it being at least two weeks after a holiday,” Rhine said.

Rhine is concerned area hospitals will see even more cases as the Delta variant continues to spread and said only about a quarter of their population is fully vaccinated.

“In order for us to gain herd immunity, we need to have roughly have 75-80 percent vaccinated, and we’re nowhere near that,” Rhine said.

In cities like St. Louis, mask mandates are returning. Four counties in southern Illinois are currently at the orange warning level. If things get worse, regions can find themselves going backwards.

“We could see reimplementation of closing of businesses, reduction of numbers of people that could business in the restaurant and so on,” Rhine said.

Rhine said the S7HD is working closely with schools, churches and businesses to get more people vaccinated.

“We don’t want you to wait until you reached a point where you’re in hospital getting on the ventilator and you’re asking for a vaccine. It’s too late at that point,” Rhine said.

If you are interested in getting a vaccine, you can contact the S7HD.

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