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COVID-19 tied to 4 Q-C deaths, local health officials plead for continued solidarity

COVID-19 tied to 4 Q-C deaths, local health officials plead for continued solidarity

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Kimberlin Richardson, of Clinton, receives a  vaccine from Beth Bloodsworth, RN, during a Rock Island County Health Department vaccine clinic at the TaxSlayer Center in Moline.

Bright sunlight and warmer temperatures Tuesday reminded Quad-Cities residents spring is on the way.

Four more deaths linked to COVID-19 offered a more stark reminder.

Two of the latest victims of the virus were Scott County residents, while a woman in her 90s and a woman in 80s — both hospitalized — were Rock Island County residents.

Since Monday, COVID-19-related causes have claimed six lives in the Q-C.

COVID-19 has killed 304 in Rock Island County since the start of the pandemic. The virus has been linked to 204 deaths in Scott County.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, said political divisiveness contributed significantly to the "stunning" U.S. COVID-19 death toll, which on Monday surpassed 500,000 lives lost.

Another reminder

Rock Island County Health Administrator Nita Ludwig asked residents to recall earlier days during Tuesday's Q-C COVID-19 Coalition press briefing.

"At the start of this pandemic, just about a year ago, we were all in this together," Ludwig said. "We are still in this together."

Ludwig asked residents eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine to not double-book times for vaccinations.

"Making multiple appointments to 'make sure you get in' takes a spot from another person," Ludwig explained. "And it also causes a scramble because we have to find another person for that vaccine."

Ludwig asked those registered to get a shot to not cancel the appointment. And she reminded those getting their second dose to bring their vaccination card with them to the appointment.

Ludwig said more hope is on the way.

"We could see approval of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine as early as next week," she said. "That is a one-dose vaccine ... and it offers a lot of hope as we try to build herd immunity."

A CBC News investigation into the growing and largely unregulated private sector of COVID-19 tests and found a hodge-podge industry of inconsistent prices, and sometimes, test results.

COVID-19 by the numbers

The Rock Island Health Department reported eight new COVID-19 cases Tuesday, bringing the total number to 12,792. There are 19 patients are hospitalized with COVID-19 in Rock Island County.

Scott County reported 15 new cases Tuesday, giving the county 18,153 total cases since the start of the pandemic.

Genesis Health System reported 21 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 — including 17 in Davenport.

Restaurants are still reeling in the midst of COVID-19. Though the vaccine rollout is in effect, it's not happening fast enough to rescue the industry's workforce. "It's baked into our mentality to be worried about what's next just because this virus has taken so many different turns," said Andrew Gruel.Andrew Gruel is the founder of Slapfish Seafood in Huntington Beach, California. Last year, he created a fundraiser for unemployed workers. This year, he's in the process of turning it into a nonprofit."The demand has far outstripped the supply," Gruel said.The latest monthly jobs report shows any job gains made were offset by losses in restaurants and other industries. In fact, restaurant jobs are still 2.5 million below their pre-coronavirus level. The bipartisan Restaurants Act which would create a $120 billion fund for food service businesses was reintroduced this month. One expert says it could make a real difference, at least temporarily. "There's probably going to be more assistance that's going to be needed if we're going to keep this industry on top," said Sean Kennedy, executive vice president of public affairs at the National Restaurant Association.Major cities from New York to Los Angeles are allowing restaurants to reopen at limited capacities. But even as they near a full return to operation, the pandemic could leave lasting changes."We introduced delivery at a lot of locations. To-go supplies [and] costs have gone up, obviously, because you're doing a lot more packaged goods to go," said John Metz, executive chef and co-founder of Sterling Hospitality.The future of restaurants might mean a bigger investment in takeout and delivery spelling an uncertain future for workers and the tipped wage. It would also put a bigger spotlight on food delivery apps, like Postmates and DoorDash, accused of taking profits from restaurants. Despite the challenges ahead, John Metz says the obstacles of the past year made his business more efficient, and he's cautiously optimistic. "Without compromising our hospitality or service or quality, we really cut as much as we could behind the scenes to save money at every point along the way. And we did that pretty efficiently and effectively, as quickly as we possibly could," Metz said.

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