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CDC: Quad-Cities has 'substantial' spread of COVID-19
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CDC: Quad-Cities has 'substantial' spread of COVID-19

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Health officials say vaccination is the best defense against COVID-19.

Quad-Citians should mask up when they are in indoor public spaces, vaccinated or not, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now recommends.

That's because COVID-19 metrics for Rock Island and Scott counties have climbed to the level of "substantial" transmission of the coronavirus that triggers the CDC recommendation. In the greater Illinois-Iowa region, Muscatine now has a "high" rate of transmission, Henry and Mercer counties have "substantial" transmission, and Louisa and Clinton counties have "moderate" transmission.

The CDC calculates the metric from a combination of two data points from the previous seven days: total new cases per 100,000 people and the percentage of positive diagnostic and screening tests.

Scott and Rock Island counties climbed from "moderate" to "substantial" levels in the past week.

Former director of the Centers for Disease Control Dr. Richard Besser tells Power & Politics new science demonstrating that fully vaccinated people can transmit the delta variant prompted the U.S. CDC to change its mind on masking rules.

Scott County added 104 cases, or 60.14 new cases per 100,000 people, up 103.92% from last week, according to CDC data, available at The county's positivity rate climbed to 8.02%, up 2.27%. There were nine new hospital admissions in Scott County, according to CDC data, a 125% increase.

Scott County has had 21,987 cases since the pandemic began in March 2020, with 250 deaths, according to state data.

Rock Island added 74 cases, or 50.75 new cases per 100,000 people, a 46.94% change. That's 44 additional cases since Wednesday, when the health department last reported case counts. Its positivity rate climbed 2.59% to 6.82%. There were three hospital admissions in the past week, a 50% increase, according to CDC data. Rock Island County health officials said there were now 10 people hospitalized in the county.

Rock Island County has had 15,187 cases since the pandemic began, with 333 deaths, according to county data. The average age of newly infected patients is 29. 

Health officials said vaccination remained the best tool to fight COVID-19 for those ages 12 or older. The Rock Island Health Department offers walk-in vaccines on Tuesdays (Moderna and Johnson & Johnson for ages 18 and older) and Fridays (Pfizer for ages 12 and older). The hours for both days are 9 a.m. to noon and 1-4 p.m. Local pharmacies also offer no-cost COVID-19 vaccinations on a walk-in basis.

Health officials also recommend universal indoor masking, frequent hand-washing, and social and physical distancing in indoor public spaces.

Vaccination rates as of July 28 were:
  • Total population at least 1 dose: 53.3%
  • Age 12 or older with at least 1 dose: 63.1%
  • Age 18 or older with at least 1 dose: 65.7%
  • Age 65 or older with at least 1 dose: 89.9%


  • Total population at least 1 dose: 57.5%
  • Age 12 or older with at least 1 dose: 67.4%
  • Age 18 or older with at least 1 dose: 69.7%
  • Age 65 or older with at least 1 dose: 91.1%

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