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COVID-19 cases continue to climb in the Quad-Cities
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COVID-19 cases continue to climb in the Quad-Cities

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A safety warning sign about play equipment not being sanitized is posted at Northwest Park Tuesday in Davenport.

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases increased by three each in Rock Island and Scott counties on Wednesday, bringing the total to 19 in Rock Island County and 21 in Scott County

In Henry County, health department officials also reported an additional three cases, bringing the total to five in the county. 

The Illinois Department of Public Health on Wednesday reported an additional 986 new cases of COVID-19 in Illinois, including 42 additional deaths. Illinois now has a total of 6,980 cases and 141 deaths. The Iowa Department of Public Health reported 549 cases in the state and nine deaths. 

In a briefing Wednesday afternoon, Scott County Health Department Director Edward Rivers said Iowa has reported 6,888 negative tests. He cautioned residents about letting their guards down as warm weather approaches. 

"We need to talk about social distancing and warmer weather," Rivers said. "After what felt like a long winter, warmer weather is finally here. As the stress of COVID-19 has us looking for outlets to manage our stress, physical activity and time outside is a good option. But as difficult as it is to hear, even outside, we still cannot loosen up our physical distancing. 

"Do what is needed to keep our community safe," he said. "Stay six feet apart when outside. The steps we will take will mean the difference between life and death for some in our community."

Rock Island County Health Department Administrator Nita Ludwig said by now many people may know someone who is exhibiting symptoms of coronavirus infection, which include shortness of breath, coughing and fever. 

"Even if symptoms are mild, people who are sick should stay at home," Ludwig said. "Older adults and those with serious underlying conditions should seek care as soon as symptoms start to worsen."

Ludwig advised people to clean frequently-touched surfaces. Caretakers should make sure their sick family member is drinking plenty of fluids to stay hydrated and may take decongestants, cough drops and fever-reducing medicine such as acetaminophen or Tylenol.

Officials from both counties said that while public buildings currently were closed to the public, they were being sanitized regularly.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Wednesday during a news conference the state had received more than 1,100 applications from former health care workers and out-of-state professionals offering to help fight COVID-19. The state made a call for help Monday.

Regionally, UnityPoint Health has launched an online waiting room in an effort to minimize exposure among patients and health care workers. The new texting platform allows patients to communicate directly with their health care provider’s office while reducing person-to-person exposure. Called the WELL Rapid Release Program, patients can notify the office when they arrive by responding to an automated appointment reminder. Patients then receive instructions by text message on registration and when and how to enter the building.

"Using WELL will enhance our response to the significant increase in patient communication," said Lauren Hardison, executive director of strategy and business development. "It also will offer UPH the ability to disseminate the latest information and education to its patient population during a community crisis."

The platform is being used by UnityPoint Health primary care clinics across eight regions.

For health questions about COVID-19, call the hotline at 1-800-889-3931 or email dph.sick@illinois.gov.

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