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COVID-19 hits younger population, vaccination outreach increased in minority communities

COVID-19 hits younger population, vaccination outreach increased in minority communities

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The week in COVID-19 was highlighted by increasingly younger people contracting the virus, another up-and-down five days for hospitalizations in the Quad-Cities, and a spotlight shined on the effort to encourage ethnic minorities to get vaccinated.

Friday, April 23

The Iowa Department of Public Health reported 23 new COVID-19 cases in Scott County — the lowest number of single-day new cases in more than three weeks. The state has confirmed 20,685 cases since the start of the pandemic.

Scott County's death toll remained 236.

The Rock Island County Health Department reported 32 new cases of COVID-19 Friday — and not a single case was a person over the age of 60. Friday's average age of newly infected people stood at 27. On Thursday the average age was 38 and on Wednesday the average age was 30.

The total number of COVID-19 cases in Rock Island County since the start of the pandemic is 14,151, and the number of deaths linked to the virus remained 311.

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Thursday, April 22

The average age of people newly infected with COVID-19 continues to hover in the 30s, Rock Island County Health officials said Thursday. 

It was age 38 on Thursday.

Across Iowa, 62% of new cases were under age 50, according to the Iowa Department of Public Health website.

Rock Island reported 27 new cases on Thursday, for a total of 14,119 since the pandemic began. There are 16 people hospitalized in the county.

In Scott County, there were 65 cases confirmed Thursday, according to the state, for a total of 20,662 cases. Iowa Region 5, which includes Clinton, Scott and Muscatine counties, among others, had 72 patients hospitalized with COVID-19, up 14 from Wednesday. Of those, 24 were in intensive care.

Wednesday, April 21

The COVID-19 spotlight stayed on the Q-C's younger population Wednesday. Health officials throughout the Q-C said younger people electing to be vaccinated were now the key to achieving herd immunity.

Scott County Health Department Director Amy Thoreson and Rock Island County Health Department COO Janet Hill have pointed out the population of new COVID-19 cases is markedly younger. Rock Island County health officials reported 25 new cases Wednesday — 24 were residents under the age of 60.

Tuesday, April 20

While most of the week brought the increasing number of people under the age 60 contracting COVID-19, Tuesday's COVID-19 Coalition press briefing highlighted efforts throughout the Q-C to encourage ethnic minorities to get vaccinated.

Joining the COVID-19 briefing were Pastor Steve Perkins with the Bethel AME Church in Davenport and Toni Robertson, vice president of the League of United Latin American Citizens Council 10 in Davenport, both addressing COVID-19 vaccination in communities of color.

"The pandemic has been really tough on the African-American community," Perkins said. "Things I've discovered that really contribute to this is the likelihood because of the fact they live in poverty, or they reside in neighborhoods that are overcrowded ... inadequate health care. It has really taken a toll."

Perkins and Robertson pointed to several issues leading to the lack of vaccinations among minorities — lack of access or understanding of technology, fear that lack of health care will prevent them from getting a vaccine and more.

"We, as Hispanics, carry a lot of the underlying jobs, as we all know, the meat-packing plants were hit very hard," Robertson said. "It's a job that is necessary, and the Hispanics were afraid to even speak up if they had an illness because they didn't want to lose their jobs. The same way with our in-town communities, they don't speak, they don't talk about things, they're so worried — there's so many of them that are undocumented and won't speak up because they don't want to be deported. They think that, if I come out and you know who I am, I may have a chance of losing my family.'"

So both Perkins and Robinson — both vaccinated — have made it a priority to help as many minorities get vaccinated as possible. That includes informing them that the vaccine is free and accessible regardless of health care status; the vaccine is safe and effective; and, at this moment, is as available as it's been since it first became available in December.

"For me, it was not about the shot in my arm, it was about, now that I've got the shot, I feel free for the first time in a whole year to be able to move about," Perkins said. "Not necessarily unmasked, but now I can move about; I can feel so much freer because I've been vaccinated.

"Every person deserves a chance to live a healthy life, and that's why being vaccinated for me is so important."

Rock Island County reported 26 new cases Tuesday, bringing its pandemic total to 14,067. The county's positivity rate was 5.3%, while the region's positivity rate checked in at 6.9%. Illinois region mitigation factors are implemented when positivity rates are above 8%.

The average age of new cases in Rock Island County was 31, and 15 people were hospitalized.

In Scott County, there were 43 new positive cases of COVID-19, raising the total of 20,534 since the start of the pandemic. The county's positivity rate is 9%.

Monday, April 19

Rock Island County reported 68 new cases between Friday, April 17, and Monday, and 65 — or 95.6% — of those cases were men and women under the age of 60.

A deeper dive showed 22 of those cases were people age 18 or younger — that's 32.4% of the 68 cases.

The Iowa Department of Public Health reported 115 new COVID-19 cases in Scott County between the previous Friday and Monday — and the state reported of the 296 cases reported in the past seven days, 60% were men and women between the ages of 18 and 60.

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