Covid cases continue to soar in Illinois and Rock Island County, and health department officials are dreading the coming two weeks as potential infections from Thanksgiving weekend, Blackout Wednesday and Black Friday gatherings arise.

The Rock Island County Health Department is reporting three additional deaths from COVID-19: a man in his 90s, a woman in her 90s and a woman in her 80s, all of whom had been living in long-term care facilities. The number of deaths in the county from this virus is now 140.

“We send our heartfelt condolences to their loved ones,”said Janet Hill, chief operating officer, Rock Island County Health Department, on Wednesday.

“As we as a nation celebrate Thanksgiving on Thursday, we worry that in the coming days, we will see a huge surge of cases that quickly will overwhelm our hospital staff that already are treating record numbers of COVID-19 patients,” Hill said. “An extended-family Thanksgiving could turn into a super spreader event. Please be as safe as possible by celebrating Thanksgiving with your immediate household only and connecting virtually with other family and friends.

“If you attend an extended gathering, please sit down to eat only with your own household members. At other times, please wear a mask, keep 6 feet between you and others outside of your household,and wash your hands frequently,”she said.

In addition, the health department reports 127 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total number to 8,035. Currently, 74 patients are hospitalized in Rock Island County. The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) today reported 12,022 new confirmed and probable cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Illinois, including 131 additional deaths.

Currently, the Illinois Department of Health is reporting a total of 697,489 cases, including 11,963 deaths, in 102 counties in Illinois. The age of cases ranges from younger than one to older than 100 years.  Within the past 24 hours, laboratories have reported 107,556 specimens for a total 10,212,093.  As of last night, 6,032 in Illinois were reported to be in the hospital with COVID-19.  Of those, 1,224 patients were in the ICU and 724 patients with COVID-19 were on ventilators.

The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity for cases as a percent of total test from November 19 – November 25, 2020 is 10.3%.  The preliminary seven-day statewide test positivity from November 19 – November 25, 2020 is 12.0%.

*All data are provisional and will change. In order to rapidly report COVID-19 information to the public, data are being reported in real-time. Information is constantly being entered into an electronic system and the number of cases and deaths can change as additional information is gathered.  For health questions about COVID-19, call the hotline at 1-800-889-3931 or email dph.sick@illinois.gov.

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Sean Leary is an author, director, artist, musician, producer and entrepreneur who has been writing professionally since debuting at age 11 in the pages of the Comics Buyers Guide. An honors graduate of the University of Southern California masters program, he has written over 50 books including the best-sellers The Arimathean, Every Number is Lucky to Someone and We Are All Characters.