WABASH VALLEY, Ill. (WTHI) - The potential COVID-19 spike is something health officials are monitoring across the nation. Locally, Illinois is one of the states feeling a significant impact from the rising case numbers.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the seven-day average for COVID-19 cases in Illinois is over 2,200 cases per day. This is the highest average the state has seen in over a month. Officials are concerned that if this number keeps rising, we could see another surge of cases.
The New York Times says COVID-19 cases in Illinois are up 43 percent in the last two weeks. This is coupled with the fact that restrictions are easing across the country and more people are traveling.
"At this point, it's pretty bad,” Dr. Jo Edwards, a family medicine doctor at Crawford Memorial Hospital, said. “Because at this point, our cases are really, really high still. They are higher than they At this point our cases are really high still. They are higher than they were at the very beginning of the pandemic"
Dr. Edwards says the faster spreading COVID-19 variants are also contributing to this recent rise. The biggest impact is left on more younger, unvaccinated people getting sick. To prevent a serious spike, she is encouraging the community to prioritize others during this time.
"We are only as strong individually as we are as a community,” she said.
Dr. Edwards is reminding everyone to continue wearing masks and social distance. Additionally, she is encouraging community members to get the vaccine when they are eligible. All of these factors together will help reduce the chances of a possible significant surge in cases.
"I think everyone's tired of hearing it, but I think they're going to be even more tired of hearing it if this continues to go on for another year," she said.
Governor Pritzker plans to open vaccine eligibility to all residents 16 and older beginning April 12. Locally, some counties are already dropping eligibility requirements. Both Jasper and Clark counties are offering the vaccine to anyone over the age of 16 and Richland county is offering the vaccine to those over the age of 18.
To learn more about the recent rise in COVID-19 cases in Illinois, visit the Illinois Department of Public Health's website here.