COVID-19 cases down; boosters up

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As of Friday, Monroe County’s COVID-related death toll has remained at 103 for over a week. 

In keeping with the rest of the state, Monroe County is also seeing decreased COVID-19 numbers.

Monroe County Health Department Administrator John Wagner said the county is seeing an average of five new cases a day, which is on the lower end of what had been reported in recent weeks. 

COVID-19 overall appears to be waning locally. As of Friday, the health department reports 39 active coronavirus cases and two hospitalizations.

Wagner said there is currently one recent death pending further investigation. This death, if found to have been COVID-related, may increase the death toll. 

Wednesday afternoon, the FDA officially approved single booster doses of the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines. Groups eligible for the Moderna booster are similar to those of Pfizer. Those 18 and older are eligible for a J & J booster. 

The FDA also noted individuals may now receive “mix and match” booster doses that are not of the same kind as their initial series. For more, click here. 

Wagner also expects the Pfizer initial series to soon be approved for kids ages 5-12. This could further bolster the county’s vaccination need. 

“We’ll adjust our clinics to meet the public’s need,” Wagner said, noting that if Pfizer is approved for younger kids, the health department may host more fairground clinics and possibly even ask schools to host clinics. 

As Waterloo Superintendent Brian Charron mentioned at Monday night’s school board meeting, he does not believe Illinois would impose a vaccine mandate for students. 

“We have seen the number of kid cases go down some,” Wagner said. 

Wagner said the Oct. 14 drive-thru Pfizer vaccine clinic at the Monroe County Fairgrounds was “really, really well attended.” 

The clinic was intended primarily for “booster” doses, but patients could receive their initial series doses as well. As a result, the health department administered approximately 300 doses, Wagner said. 

The clinic on Thursday, Oct. 21 saw less people needing booster doses. Wagner said they administered approximately 150 booster doses plus some initial series shots.

“It was not as busy as our first clinic, which we were expecting,” Wagner said.

The health department will hold similar a Pfizer clinic from 9-11:30 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 28. Appointments are not necessary. 

With the FDA officially approving Moderna and Johnson & Johnson boosters for select populations, the health department is discussing hosting additional clinics. Wagner said as of right now, the health department will most likely host separate clinics for each type of shot.

As of Friday, 53.88 percent (18,498 residents) of Monroe County’s eligible population is fully vaccinated. That compares to 44.25 percent in Randolph County and 49.28 percent in St. Clair County.

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