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COVID surge receding in Tri-Counties, but ‘long road’ ahead, local health administrator says


Peoria City/County Health Department Administrator Monica Hendrickson
Peoria City/County Health Department Administrator Monica Hendrickson(25 News/Heart of Illinois ABC)
Published: Jan. 26, 2022 at 11:28 PM CST
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PEORIA (Heart of Illinois ABC) - Local health leaders are seeing data indicating the Omicron-fueled surge is subsiding, but they said there’s a long way to go before the community can declare victory over COVID-19.

Peoria, Tazewell, and Woodford Counties are averaging 595 new cases per day, down from a daily average of 667 last week, said Monica Hendrickson, administrator of the Peoria City/County Health Department during a weekly news briefing.

Marking two years since Illinois’ first COVID case, Hendrickson said, “Overall, our numbers are improving, but there is still a long road ahead of us.”

Hospitalizations have stabilized, said Hendrickson.

However, she noted there were 28 COVID-related deaths among Tri-County residents in the past week, including six more fatalities in the most recent 24 hour reporting period.

“Just because we’re not feeling that rush of pressure that we were seeing a few weeks ago, it does not mean that we are able to stop working continuously on trying to stem the continuous spread of this virus,” Hendrickson said.

In the Tri-Counties, there have been 1,036 deaths tied to COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic, said Hendrickson. She reported 510 deaths in Peoria County, 409 in Tazewell, and 117 in Woodford County.

Meantime, hospitals are still facing staffing shortages, but their leaders are looking forward to the arrival of additional staffers from the state. Health leaders aren’t sure when the additional workers will arrive, but they’ll be here for six weeks.

“We still do have delays, but they are shorter,” said Robert Anderson, president of OSF Health Care St. Francis Medical Center in Peoria.

“We are pleased to bring people who need advanced care here in Peoria from the region in a more timely manner, so we are grateful that we are able to do that,” Anderson said.

Even as COVID numbers improve, health leaders continue to remind people to wear masks, practice social distancing, and stay up to date with vaccinations.

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