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Peoria Area COVID Case Increase Driven By School Sports, St. Patrick's Day Revelry

Peoria City/County Health Department building
Tim Shelley
/
WCBU

COVID-19 numbers are heading the wrong way again in the Peoria area.
Peoria City/County Health Department Administrator Monica Hendrickson said the Tri-County's seven day rolling average is now 114 new cases daily, compared to 82 last week. Hospitalizations are also up, with the average daily ICU bed usage up from 8 to 10, and non-ICU beds up to 24 from 20.

"Based on contact tracing, we've determined many of these cases are due to school sports activities, as well as St. Patrick's Day exposures," she said.

Younger people are driving the latest surge. Forty percent of the cases in the past two weeks were people aged 10 to 29. Since the beginning of March, 276 people aged 0 to 19 have tested positive for the coronavirus.

Hendrickson says many of those school sports cases are traced back to so-called "high risk" sports like basketball, football, and volleyball, all of which frequently include physical contact.

Now is not the time to begin letting guards down, Hendrickson said.

"While there are a lot of positive things happening, we do not want to get complacent," she said.

Hendrickson encouraged people to get vaccinated if they're eligible. Only 8 percent of the new positive cases were over age 60. Peoria County touts one of the state's best senior vaccination rates.

She said while the area is trending well on some of the six indicators needed to move to Gov. JB Pritzker's "bridge" phase to full reopening, the region is also trending backwards on others.

"It's going to take the full state. It's going to take everyone's responsibility," Hendrickson said. "While there is that light at the end of the tunnel, there is no need for complacency at this time. And we really want to make sure we are able to move forward rather than stay in the current phase any longer."

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