COVID caution this Thanksgiving

Anna Kalbeisch holds her mom’s hand as she gets the first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination for kids ages 5-11. She did so after her older sister, Clare, did during last week’s clinic at Zahnow Elementary in Waterloo. 

Monroe County Health Department Administrator John Wagner reported 78 active COVID cases locally and one hospitalization on Wednesday. 

Late last week and early this week, the number of active cases was in the 60s. Of Monday’s cases, 21 were school-aged children, Wagner said. 

Monroe County’s COVID-related death total remained at 105 as of Wednesday. This has been the case since the beginning of the month.

With Thanksgiving bringing larger family gatherings, Wagner reminded individuals who feel sick to stay home. If one is not feeling well, they should not attend such gatherings until they get a negative COVID test result. 

“Judge your risk and decide how much you’re willing to take,” he said. 

Wagner said he expects to see an increase in cases after the holiday. 

Last week’s first round of Pfizer vaccinations for children ages 5-11 saw about 100 vaccinations at Columbia and at Waterloo, with Valmeyer’s number being 26. 

Another round of ages 5-11 clinics take place Dec. 14 at Parkview Elementary in Columbia and Dec. 15 at Zahnow Elementary in Waterloo from 3:15-5 p.m.

Those looking to vaccinate their young ones may also set up an appointment at the health department in Waterloo by calling 618-939-3871.

The health department will host two Moderna drive-thru clinics for ages 12 and up at Rock City in Valmeyer on Thursday, Dec. 2, and Thursday, Dec. 9. These clinics run from 1-3 p.m. Those looking to get their second or “booster” dose must bring a vaccination card. 

As of Monday, the Illinois Department of Public Health is reporting 57.77 percent (18,806 residents) of Monroe County’s eligible population is fully vaccinated. Wagner does not believe this includes ages 5-11. 

Wagner also expects the groups of those eligible for “booster” doses will soon expand. 

“We should be hearing more about boosters opening up for everybody in the next week,” Wagner said Friday. 

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