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Stateline leaders sound the alarm on skyrocketing COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations

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Winnebago County COVID concerns

Winnebago County has a higher rate of spread than Kane and Cook counties

ROCKFORD (WREX) — It feels like Groundhog Day for front line workers in hospitals as another COVID surge hits the Stateline ahead of the holiday season.

"If the surge were to get worse, we could begin to have staffing issues and we could begin to have a situation similar to where we had restaurants closing where we have to curtail certain services like elective surgery," OSF Chief Medical Officer Dr. Stephen Bartlett said.

And while Dr. Bartlett doesn't foresee that kind of closure, he doesn't think he can rule it out due to discouraging positivity rate increase brought forward by Winnebago County Public Health Administrator Dr. Sandra Martell.

"Currently our transmission rate is 502 cases per 100,000," Martell said. "Our positivity rate is over ten percent. Currently we have 126 patients hospitalized."

Martell says Winnebago County has a higher case rate and positivity rate than Cook, Kane and DuPage counties. When asked about potentially announcing closures and gathering restrictions, Martell said the answer is still in the public's hands.

"We don't want to close down," Martell said. "We didn't like close down, no one liked it, the businesses, the people, I didn't like it close down either, so what are we going to do? Not only is it attitude. it's action."

Dr. Bartlett also pointed to a new trend of younger people getting severe COVID cases, most of the unvaccinated, and added two infants have severe cases in the county.

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Investigative Reporter

William Ingalls is the Investigative Reporter at WREX. He joined the team in 2019 as a photographer after graduating with a Bachelor's Degree in Journalism and English from Augustana College. William was born and raised in Rockford.

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