Health officials on both sides of the river encourage Quad-Citians to continue to mask up and be diligent in regard to preventing the spread of covid-19, warning we still have a long way to go before the pandemic is under control.

Illinois Department of Public Health director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said numbers from the aftermath of the Thanksgiving holiday have still not fully emerged, and that we “have a long way to go” before the disease is settled.

“To be clear, the numbers still have a long way to go to move away from what could reasonably be called the danger zone. In other words, a surge on top of a surge that national experts have said might define the holiday season is still the focus our attention,” Illinois Governor JB Pritzker said during his daily coronavirus press briefing Monday.

Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker.

“These next four weeks may be the most crucial months of this entire pandemic,” Pritzker said.

The IDPH has reported a total of 787,573 coronavirus-related cases and 13,343 deaths since the pandemic’s start. The 90 deceased reported on Monday include a female teenager, a woman in her 20s, a woman in her 30s, men in their 40s, men and women in their 50s as well as those over age 60, Ezike said.

The Rock Island County Health Department is reporting three additional deaths on Monday from COVID-19: a woman in her 90s; a woman in her 70s; and a man in his 70s, all of whom had been hospitalized.

The number of deaths in the county from this virus is now 178.

“We offer deepest sympathies to theloved ones of these residents,”said Nita Ludwig, administrator of the Rock Island County Health Department.

In addition, the health department reports 119 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total number to 9,199. Currently, 74 patients are hospitalized in Rock Island County.

The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 8,691 new cases, which is on the lower end when compared to the double-digit daily transmission rates that had been reported in recent weeks.

Across the state, approximately 75% of staff hospital beds are currently in use. As of Sunday night, 5,190 individuals in Illinois were reported to be in the hospital with COVID-19. Of those, 1,123 patients were in the intensive care unit and 648 patients with COVID-19 were on ventilators.

The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity for cases as a percent of total test from Nov. 30 through Dec. 6 is 10.3%. The preliminary seven-day statewide test positivity from Nov. 30 through Dec. 6 is 11.9%.

Pritzker said it’s “a good sign” that the state’s positivity rate hasn’t increased dramatically but “it’s not a good sign” because it hasn’t substantially fallen either.

Pritzker also stressed that people plan smaller, more intimate holiday gatherings this year.

“We’re not through with this yet, and it’s not wise to act as if we are,” he added.

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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.