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COVID in the Q-C: Last week brought hope and muddled vaccination efforts
COVID-19 IN THE QUAD-CITIES: WEEK IN REVIEW

COVID in the Q-C: Last week brought hope and muddled vaccination efforts

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The week in COVID-19 brought what might best be described as hope tempered by 11 months of living through a pandemic.

The number of new cases stayed low throughout the Quad-Cities — until Friday, when the Iowa Department of Public Health dropped an as-of-now-inexplicable 1,254 new positive cases on Scott County.

As of Friday, Iowa health officials didn't explain the sudden increase but noted a change in the counting of positive cases. But it's safe to say there wasn't a one-day explosion of cases in Scott County.

Back to hope. Going back to Saturday, Feb. 13, the Rock Island Department of Public Health did not report a single COVID-19-related death.

Scott County, however, did reach the 200-death plateau with four deaths over the six-day period starting Saturday, Feb. 13, to Friday, Feb. 19.

The vaccination efforts on both sides of Q-C were dealt a blow that may be felt for a number of weeks, as shipments of doses were delayed in places such as Louisville, Dallas, and Chicago.

Friday, Feb. 19

Illinois will see a bump in vaccinations available through Walgreens. Iowa will not.

Walgreens said it would receive more than 480,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses weekly as part of the broader effort to increase vaccination at U.S. pharmacies in more than 20 states and jurisdictions.

Illinois made the list. Iowa did not. Walgreens said it would “receive a weekly allocation of more than 480,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses” beginning Feb. 25.

Drugstores in the following U.S. states and jurisdictions will get the doses: Alaska, Arizona, California, Chicago, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, New York City, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

Thursday, Feb. 18

There will be, perhaps, 200 slots available during next Tuesday's Rock Island County COVID-19 vaccination clinic at the Tax Slayer Center.

The reason? Vaccine delivery has slowed all across the country this week because of severe weather.

Rock Island County Health Department chief operating officer Janet Hill explained how bad weather all around the country has impacted both Rock Island and Scott counties.

"Our vaccine shipments have been delayed because the UPS shipping hubs for the Midwest are Louisville, Dallas, Philadelphia and Chicago — all places that have been hit hard by the weather," Hill said. "The vaccine supply was already low — now we are having trouble even finding out when our next shipment will be."

Hill did say the Rock Island Health Department did "cobble together" roughly 200 doses.

Hill also said the Rock Island County public vaccination clinics on Feb. 23, March 2, and March 9 would be held inside the TaxSlayer Center. County health officials will determine when the clinic moves back to the Greater Q-C Auto Auction in Milan after the March 9 clinic.

The virus was linked to the deaths of a pair of Scott County residents Thursday. The death toll on the Iowa side of the Q-C is now 199.

No deaths were reported in Rock Island County.

The numbers of new infections remained low on both sides of the Mississippi River, as Rock Island County reported 24 new cases and Scott County reported 32. Scott County's total number of cases since the start of the pandemic is now 16,835. The total in Rock Island County is 12,696.

Wednesday, Feb. 17

The focus of COVID-19 vaccinations shifted this week locally and nationally, as health departments and other vaccine providers were told to shift focus to second doses.

And the phrase "vaccination rate" became part of our COVID-speak.

The vaccination rate is determined by dividing the number of fully vaccinated residents of a county by the total population of the county. Rock Island County showed an initial vaccination rate of .096% and Scott County hovered around 1.7%. Both were well below the rates of nearby counties.

Scott County's vaccination rate climbed to Wednesday's reported rate of 2.7%. Rock Island County's rate was 2.64%.

The effort to get second doses into arms is not without its own kind of fallout, as Rock Island County Health Department Administrator Nita Ludwig explained during Tuesday's Q-C COVID-19 Coalition press briefing.

"Last week, federal and state health officials directed local health departments to prioritize second doses. We had been trying to balance between first and second doses, but that plan assumed that second doses had been set aside at the federal and state levels," Rock Island County Health Department Administrator Nita Ludwig explained. "They weren’t. The result of prioritizing second doses means there will be fewer first-dose opportunities for a few weeks. We believe this setback is temporary. We continue to ask for your patience."

Ludwig offered up vaccination supply numbers to illustrate the recent shift from first doses to second doses.

"(Tuesday) we vaccinated at least 800 people at our clinic at the TaxSlayer Center in Moline. Almost all of them received their second dose of the Moderna vaccine," Ludwig said. "We had only 18 slots for first doses this week, which we understand is frustrating to everyone. We all want to get both doses so we can get closer to going back to normal. We will get there."

In terms of raw numbers, 4,800 Scott County residents have completed the two-dose cycle, while 3,781 Rock Island County residents are fully vaccinated.

Tuesday, Feb. 16

Rock Island reported 27 news cases — 16 Monday and another 11 confirmed Tuesday. The total number of confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic numbers 12,647 on the Illinois side of the Q-C.

Illinois health officials reported 1,348 new cases Tuesday, pushing the state's pandemic total to 1,164,922 cases. The toll since the start of the pandemic is 20,034.

Scott County reported 17 new cases Tuesday, giving the county 16,769 since March of last year.

According to the Iowa Department of Public Health, the new case count remained low Tuesday — just 454 new confirmed cases. The state has confirmed 329,909 total infections and 5,263 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

Monday, Feb. 15

Monday was the first day Alternatives started taking calls from adults age 65 or older who do not have the ability to register online for the vaccine

The Alternatives’ Vaccine Support Center will provide answers to questions, help book appointments if available, and/or add names to waiting lists to be registered when appointments are available. The Rock Island County Health Department said it planned to designate some vaccine slots for these individuals each week.

The toll-free number is 1-833-382-1314. The number will be open 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Alternatives will work with area human-service agencies to broaden the support to targeted neighborhoods and communities, will continue working with the Quad-Cities Open Network for a centralized system to collect information, and get people registered as soon as appointments become available.

Sunday, Feb. 14

The Rock Island County Health Department reported 19 new COVID-19 cases bringing the total number of cases in the count to 12,620 since the start of the pandemic. COVID-related deaths in Rock Island County remained at 302.

The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 1,631 new COVID cases on Sunday, bringing the total number of cases in the state to 1,162,154 since the pandemic was announced. Deaths rose by 35, bringing the total number of COVID-related deaths in the state to 19,961.

The Iowa Department of Public Health reported 400 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total number of cases in the state to 329,119 since the start of the pandemic. No new deaths were recorded, leaving the total number of COVID-related deaths at 5,236 since the pandemic was announced.

Iowa Health officials reported 22 new COVID cases in Scott County on Sunday, bringing the total number of cases in the county to 16,734 since the start of the pandemic. No new deaths were reported, leaving the total number of COVID-related deaths in the county at 196 since the start of the pandemic.

Saturday, Feb. 13

The Rock Island County Health Department reported 57 new cases of COVID-19 over a two-day period. County health officials reported 25 new cases on Friday and 32 new cases Saturday. The total number of cases is 12,601 since the pandemic was announced. COVID-related deaths in the county stand at 302.

The Illinois Department of Public Health on Saturday reported 2,092 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total number of COVID cases in the state to 1,160,523 since the pandemic was announced. Illinois health officials reported 53 COVID-related deaths, bringing the total number of deaths to 19,926 since the start of the pandemic.

The Iowa Department of public health on Saturday reported 589 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total number of COVID cases in the state to 328,719 since the start of the pandemic. Iowa also reported 13 additional deaths because of the virus, bringing the total number of deaths in the state to 5,236 since the pandemic was announced.

Iowa health officials on Saturday also reported 34 new COVID cases in Scott County, bringing the total number of cases in the county to 16,712 since the start of the pandemic. There have been 196 COVID-related deaths in the county since the pandemic was announced.

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