By Kevin Haas
Rock River Current
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ROCKFORD — The number of patients hospitalized in the city after testing positive for the coronavirus has fallen for a sixth straight week, according to the Winnebago County Health Department.
There were 73 people being treated for COVID-19 at Mercyhealth, OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center and UW Health SwedishAmerican Hospital as of Thursday evening. That’s down from 91 a week earlier and 219 at the peak in mid-January.
It marks the fewest number of people hospitalized at the point in time of the Health Department’s weekly report since Nov. 11.
“It’s great news, we’ll finally be able to take these masks off, we’ll be able to gather in large groups and get some sense of normalcy back,” Mayor Tom McNamara said of falling coronavirus numbers on This Week in the Stateline.
Gov. JB Pritzker said last week that the statewide indoor mask mandate would be lifted by Feb. 28 if the downward trend on coronavirus cases continues. And, late Thursday, the 4th District Appellate Court in Springfield issued a decision that made masks in schools optional, allowing districts to set their own rules.
McNamara continued to urge people to get vaccinated, as he has done for months alongside local public health officials. Just under 57% of Winnebago County residents are vaccinated, compared to 63% statewide.
“We need to bolster up our defense of whatever may come next, if something does,” McNamara said.
Statewide, hospitalizations have fallen to 1,590 from the peak of 7,380 on Jan. 12.
Rockford COVID hospitalizations
The Winnebago County Health Department releases a report each Friday on the total number of hospitalized COVID patients at Rockford’s three hospitals as of the previous Thursday evening.
Feb. 18: 73
Feb. 10: 91
Feb. 3: 107
Jan. 27: 162
Jan. 20: 169
Jan. 13: 214
Jan. 10*: 219
Dec. 30: 180
Dec. 23: 188
Dec. 16: 188
Dec. 9: 165
Dec. 2: 167
Nov. 25: 129
Nov. 18: 128
Nov. 11: 48
Nov. 4: 65
*Number reported on Monday rather than Friday
Source: Winnebago County Health Department