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With new COVID-19 cases at a nadir, Peoria health department administrator says it's safe for most to normalize activities again

Tim Shelley
Peoria City/County Health Department Administrator Monica Hendrickson, left.

COVID-19 numbers in the Peoria region are currently at some of the lowest levels seen since the pandemic began.

Peoria City/County Health Department Administrator Monica Hendrickson said there are just 104 active COVID-19 cases in Peoria County, and only six Peoria County residents are currently hospitalized for virus complications. The county sees an average of just 13 new cases a day, she said.

"I would say, overall, in the Tri-County, the general population can get back to normalized activities," Hendrickson said, adding that people should be respectful of those who continue masking and taking other precautions.

She noted public health authorities will continue monitoring COVID-19, and prepare to pivot if cases pick up again in the fall, as was seen last year.

"We're going to continue to be watching this, and we'll update our public accordingly if we see issues that arise," Hendrickson said. "But for the first time in I would say two years, I feel comfortable going into a grocery store without a mask on."

Some federal COVID-19 dollars have dried up recently. Hendrickson said her department has enough funding to continue surveillance, testing, and vaccination clinics through the end of this year. She said the bigger question is what resources will be available going into 2023.

"There is a seasonality (with respiratory viruses). So we do expect COVID cases to kind of mirror that. We've seen it in sadly the past two years of monitoring this," she said. "But in terms of vaccinations, and will this become similar to influenza, will we have an annual vaccine or an annual booster, that is still yet to be determined."

Tim is the News Director at WCBU Peoria Public Radio.