Post-Thanksgiving COVID spike arrives

A long line of vehicles waits in line during Thursday’s Moderna vaccine clinic at Rock City in Valmeyer.

Monroe County Health Department Administrator John Wagner predicted the area would see an increase in COVID-19 cases shortly after the Thanksgiving holiday.

He was right.

On Friday, Monroe County reported 127 active cases and six related hospitalizations. This is a substantial increase from Wednesday’s 91 active cases and two hospitalizations.

Wagner said of the six hospitalizations, just one individual is vaccinated. Five are individuals in their 70s and one is middle-aged.

“People came in more contact with other people over Thanksgiving,” Wagner said of the predicted increase. “The more people you come in contact with, the higher the chances are that you’re going to run into somebody that tested positive.”

Monroe County’s COVID-related death total remains at 105, just as it has been since the beginning of November. As Wagner previously said, this number may soon rise as one previous death is being investigated by the state.

Currently, the Illinois Department of Public Health reports 55.30 percent of Monroe County’s eligible population is fully vaccinated. Wagner said he does not believe this includes the newly eligible 5-11 age group. 

The Rock City clinics are now underway. The Monroe County Health Department administered 120 Moderna vaccines during Thursday’s clinic at the Valmeyer site, Wagner said. He added this consisted of mostly “boosters” and a few first doses.

The next Rock City clinic will be a Pfizer (ages 12 and up) drive-thru clinic from 1-3 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 7. The local health department will host a similar clinic for Moderna (ages 18 and up) vaccinations Thursday, Dec. 9 from 1-3 p.m., also at Rock City.

For those looking to have their youngsters vaccinated, the health department is hosting another round of ages 5-11 Pfizer clinics Tuesday, Dec. 14 at Parkview Elementary in Columbia and Wednesday, Dec. 15 at Zahnow Elementary in Waterloo from 3:15-5 p.m. Children can get their first or second doses at these clinics.

At all clinics, those who are looking to get any dose besides their first must bring a vaccination card.

For more information, call the health department at 618-939-3871.

The Omicron variant is the latest strain of the coronavirus to be designated a “variant of concern” by the World Health Organization. More countries are reporting cases – including in the United States – and it has an unusual combination of mutations that may enable it to spread faster than previous strains.

California, New York, Minnesota, Hawaii, Colorado and Missouri have reported cases of the variant. It was reported Friday afternoon that a new positive COVID case in St. Louis city was the Omicron variant.

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