Rockford, Illinois News

Winnebago County Board chairman issues COVID-19 disaster proclamation, urges residents to stay home

ROCKFORD — Winnebago County Chairman Frank Haney (R) issued a disaster proclamation Friday in response to the region’s steady uptick in COVID-19 cases.

The proclamation comes on the heels of a report that Rockford’s three hospitals are reeling to keep pace with an influx of coronavirus patients.

“Winnebago County’s top priority is the safety of our residents,” Haney told media Friday afternoon. “I urge our residents to adhere to the Tier 2 mitigations outlined in Executive Order #2020-62 to protect the community.”

Under Tier 2 restrictions, which Gov. J.B. Pritzker imposed Oct. 23, Winnebago County bars and restaurants have been ordered to suspend indoor service, and gatherings are limited to 10 people.

Haney’s proclamation also comes after Pritzker had harsh words for city and county leaders across the state who are not enforcing the mitigations.

“We’ve shown you what this looked like in the spring and how this wave is already worse than that in many regions across the state,” Pritzker said in an earlier report. “What will it take to make this real for you? Do we have to reach a positivity rate of 50% like we’re seeing in Iowa today? 50%? Are you waiting for health care workers to get sick to the point where you don’t have enough staff in the hospital to cover the next shift? Because I promise you, while you failed to take responsibility in your city or your county, that day is coming closer, and it will be on you.”

The Winnebago County disaster proclamation advises residents to stay home as much as possible, only use pick-up or delivery services and limit non-essential travel. Gatherings should be limited to immediate families. Per state orders, face coverings and social distancing are required in public.

Winnebago County’s seven-day COVID-19 rolling positivity rate was 19.2% Friday. Since March, there have been 14,421 infections in the county, including 206 virus-related deaths. The recovery rate is currently 97.5%.

Statewide, there have been 551,957 cases, and 10,504 fatalities, including the 15,415 infections and 27 deaths reported Friday. As of Thursday night, 5,362 people in Illinois were reported to be in the hospital with COVID-19. Of those, 990 patients were in the ICU and 488 were on ventilators.

The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity for cases as a percent of total tests from Nov. 6 to Nov. 12 is 13.2%. The preliminary seven-day statewide test positivity rate for that same period is 14.5%. State laboratories processed 106,540 COVID-19 tests in the past 24 hours.

Chicago and Cook County officials have also issued stay-at-home advisories, including one by Mayor Lori Lightfoot that asks residents to change Thanksgiving plans and refrain from traveling. Chicago’s three-week advisory begins Monday.

Pritzker said the state is running out of options to slow the spread, and that he would impose a second stay-at-home order if “if things don’t take a turn in the coming days.” The governor added that coronavirus is again spreading exponentially.

While a second stay-at-home order appears inevitable, what it may entail isn’t known. Pritzker said it could include some of the restrictions that were successful under the first order.

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