Vaccine clinic Monday as COVID cases dwindle

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The number of active coronavirus cases in Monroe County was down to just nine on Monday. That is the fewest active cases since last summer.

That good news came on the heels of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announcement Thursday that people fully vaccinated against COVID-19 do not need to wear masks or practice social distancing indoors or outdoors, except under certain circumstances. The CDC cited three studies – one from Israel and two from the United States – that show vaccines work.

Click here for a more detailed breakdown of what things fully vaccinated people should and should not do without a mask.

For the unvaccinated, it’s a different story.

“You remain at risk of mild or severe illness, of death, or spreading the disease to others. You should still mask and you should get vaccinated right away,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said.

Earlier last week, the CDC recommended the use of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine for children ages 12-15. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration extended its emergency use authorization for the vaccine for that age group last Monday.

The Monroe County Health Department is hosting COVID vaccine clinics Monday at the Monroe County Fairgrounds in Waterloo. Limited doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and first doses of the Moderna vaccine will be offered from 2-6 p.m. for county residents ages 18 and up. First doses of the Pfizer vaccine will be offered from 5-6:30 p.m. for residents ages 12-19 only. Those ages 12-17 must have a consent form signed by a parent.

Pfizer second doses will also be administered for those who received first doses on or before April 26.

This all comes as Illinois moved to the new Bridge Phase of its reopening plan Friday. Barring any setbacks, Pritzker said the state is on track to fully reopen June 11 when it reaches Phase 5 of the Restore Illinois plan.

“The concerning upward movement of cases and hospitalizations we were seeing a few weeks ago have stabilized – a testament to the lifesaving, community-protecting power of vaccinations,” Pritzker said earlier this month. “As a result, on Friday, May 14, the State of Illinois will move into the Bridge Phase of our mitigation plan – one step closer to removing nearly all of the remaining mitigations, and a very hopeful move toward fully reopening.”

The Bridge Phase allows for higher capacity limits at spectator events and has fewer limitations on businesses.

Illinois overall has administered 10,433,777 doses of the vaccine and received over 12.8 million doses. A total of 4,822,723 residents have gotten both shots, which means 37.85 percent of Illinois is fully vaccinated.

To move to Phase 5, which is when life returns to pre-pandemic normal, the state must reach a 50 percent vaccination rate for residents ages 16 and over and meet the same metrics and rates required to enter the transition phase over an additional 28-day period.

In addition, Pritzker announced that state-managed mass vaccination sites will offer walk-in appointments and that doctor’s offices and small medical providers will begin offering the vaccine.

The IDPH reports Monroe County has administered 28,181 doses of COVID vaccines. There are 13,866 people fully vaccinated here – meaning 40.38 percent of the county has received both shots. That is the among the highest percentages in the state.

In addition to the county health department, individuals can now also get vaccinated at Mercy Hospital by visiting mercy.net/MOVaccineInfo or by scheduling an appointment at the Waterloo Walmart at walmart.com/COVIDvaccine.

Those places join Red Bud Regional Hospital, Memorial Hospital in Belleville and the Columbia and Waterloo Walgreens as other nearby locations residents can get shots. Millstadt Pharmacy also offers COVID vaccinations.

Monroe County has had a total of 4,389 cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began, only nine of which are active. That is the fewest active cases since last summer. One resident is hospitalized with the virus.

Overall, the Waterloo zip code has had 2,229 cases (28,058 tests performed), the Columbia zip code has had 1,672 cases (12,412 tests) and the Valmeyer zip code has had 168 cases (1,122 tests), according to the IDPH.

Monroe County’s seven-day rolling average test positivity rate was .5 percent on May 15. The seven-day rolling average positivity rate for the metro east was 2.5 percent on May 15. The region has 34 percent of its ICU staffed beds available.

In St. Clair County, there have been 30,879 total positive tests and 477 coronavirus-related deaths. A total of 355,485 tests have been performed there.

Randolph County has had 4,163 confirmed cases, 10 of which are active. Eighty-five people have died from the virus there.

Illinois overall is up to 1,368,709 cases of coronavirus and 22,466 deaths. There are 1,512 people hospitalized with COVID-19 in Illinois, including 407 people in ICU beds.

Missouri has recorded 507,939 confirmed cases and 8,990 deaths. That includes 81,337 cases in St. Louis County and 21,402 cases in St. Louis City, according to the Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services.

Nationally, more than 32.9 million people have contracted the virus, while at least 585,957 people have died.

Worldwide, there have been over 163.6 million cases of coronavirus and over 3.3 million COVID-19-related deaths.

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