Local health officials say daily average COVID-19 case count declines, no timeline for general public to receive vaccines

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PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Local health officials are spreading some lighter news when it comes to COVID-19, they’re saying daily cases are starting to decline in the tri-county area.

Peoria City/County Health Department Administrator Monica Hendrickson said although the tri-county area has seen an additional 2,027 cases from last week, she said the average number of cases is going down.

During Thursday’s health department’s press conference, Hendrickson said the 7-day average is 15 cases fewer than last week and it’s a similar story when looking at the 14-day average. She also said the area was able to avoid a surge of cases from Thanksgiving.

“This is good news. We didn’t see a huge spike it’s been pretty consistent and what that tells us is that people followed along with that idea of having smaller gatherings, Hendrickson said. “That also shows us it works so moving into the next holiday season, we’re going to be asking you to do the same thing.”

After the first batch of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines made its way to the tri-county area this week, Hendrickson said there is still no set-in-stone timeline for the general public to get them.

She said as of Thursday evening about 1,260 vaccines have been administered to frontline health care workers in the area. She said they don’t have a set schedule for when and how many vaccines they’ll get so it’s hard to predict when everyone will get the shots.

“Our timeline keeps moving on us and it’s going to be by supply. We just don’t know when our vaccine is going to be ruled in and how much we’re going to get,” Hendrickson said. “I can tell you just this week we had one expectation one day and by the evening at 9 o’clock our numbers had changed, we actually got more vaccines than we originally thought we were going to get.”

However, she did say nursing homes and long term care facilities could receive the vaccines by the end of the month based on capacity. She said these facilities would get the shipments from Walgreens and CVS and the staff will administer to the residents.

“The goal is that, in the last week of December, they will start rolling out across the state and really pick up speed in the first part of January,” Hendrickson said.

Hendrickson said in this case the Moderna vaccine, which is still awaiting emergency use authorization from the FDA, would be the better option instead of Pfizer.

“Moderna, compared to the Pfizer, is going to be maybe a little bit user-friendly to handle in terms of keeping it at a normal refrigeration temperature versus the ultra-cold that we have with Pfizer,” Hendrickson said.

She said in the meantime, she’s recommending the general public continue to practice good hygiene such as hand-washing, mask-wearing and social distancing.

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