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WNIJ's summary of news items around our state.

Winnebago Health Care System Issues COVID-19 Warning

Connie Kuntz
Outside of the Winnebago County Health Department.

Rockford health care facilities are feeling the strain of COVID-19 related hospitalizations. 



Officials at all of the local health care systems say that they have been seeing significant increases in COVID-19 admissions.  Dr. Sandra Martell from the Winnebago County Health Department said the region could see cascading consequences.


“While most individuals don't require hospitalization, each day that you're adding additional individuals on, even at a small percentage starts to then tax the system as we go through that," she said.


The health department reported 202 new cases of COVID-19 as of Thursday for a total of more than 12,000 cases in Winnebago County since the pandemic began.


The cases, coupled with a rising positivity rate, currently at 15.8%, have translated into fewer available beds throughout the county's health facilities. Hospitals have not yet reached capacity but there is concern should the positivity rate continue to climb.


  • Juanpablo Ramirez-Franco is a 2020 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of the GroundTruth Project which is a national service program that places talented journalists in local newsrooms.
Juanpablo covers environmental, substandard housing and police-community relations. He’s been a bilingual facilitator at the StoryCorps office in Chicago. As a civic reporting fellow at City Bureau, a non-profit news organization that focuses on Chicago’s South Side, Ramirez-Franco produced print and audio stories about the Pilsen neighborhood. Before that, he was a production intern at the Third Coast International Audio Festival and the rural America editorial intern at In These Times magazine. Ramirez-Franco grew up in northern Illinois. He is a graduate of Knox College.