ROCK ISLAND COUNTY, Ill. — According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday, December 3, every county in eastern Iowa and western Illinois is at a "high" level of COVID-19 transmission.
On Friday afternoon, the Rock Island County health department released its highest number of COVID cases since this time in 2020.
COVID-19 concerns, though, are still present for this holiday season, much like they were last year.
"We started to see a little bit of a rise in November, but then this rise was quite jarring," said Janet Hill, the chief operating officer with the Rock Island County Health Department.
Hill and the health department reported 256 new COVID cases on Friday, the most since this time last year.
"That's not something we should be seeing at this point in our vaccination campaign," Hill said.
The health department reported 291 cases in November 2020, Hill said. That is the most cases the department has reported. However, cases are climbing again.
"If this is a post-Thanksgiving surge, we may not have seen the last of it," Hill said.
Many of the cases reported on Friday's are affecting a younger population, Hill said.
"61% of the cases were in their 30s or younger," Hill said.
Health department leaders, like Hill, are concerned about what's to come.
"I am very concerned about Christmas," Hill said.
Plus, the COVID variants are at the top of Hill's mind.
"There's a lot of worry about Omicron but right now Delta is just everywhere in our community," Hill said.
Hill said the Delta variant makes up nearly 100% of the new cases across the state of Illinois, not just in Rock Island County.
Hill said the best thing to do before the holidays and large gatherings is to get vaccinated.
"For people who have been fully vaccinated and boosted, I think you can gather with very little concern," Hill said. "It's when you start mixing vaccinated and unvaccinated people in the same gathering that you do have some concerns."
As more people choose to gather inside, Hill offers one reminder.
"If you're not vaccinated, you're going to get infected," Hill said.
Rock Island County is about 65% vaccinated right now.
Hill said anyone who receives the Johnson and Johnson vaccine now would be considered fully vaccinated before Christmas.