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State deploys vaccination teams in direct response to surge in COVID cases

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TRI COUNTY (HOI) -- The Tri County area saw its biggest increase of COVID-19 cases in four months on Wednesday. 369 new cases were reported in Peoria, Tazewell and Woodford Counties. Now the state has sent help try and slow the spread.

This week the governor deployed "Rapid Response Vaccination Teams" to the Tri County area to combat the surge in cases.

"We had 129 cases today we haven't had over 100 For a long time in a day so that started going to us and concerning," said Tazewell County Health Department Administrator, Sara Sparkman.

Wednesday, 800 people who were eligible were able to receive the Johnson and Johnson vaccine in Woodford County.

"We've been waiting for more allocation to come at the local level," said Woodford County Health Department Administrator, Hillary Agger.

Agger said those slots filled up in less than 48 hours.

"So we're glad and very thankful that this event could happen," said Agger.

This week, the New York Times reported the city of Peoria was 7th in per capita COVID cases, nationwide.

Sparkman said it was now a race to compete to vaccinate as many people as possible while cases surge.

"Our Tri County we have reached the number, they have like 70% of our 65 and older have been fully vaccinated," Sparkman continued, "It's just the the rest of the population we're working to make sure we have vaccine available and appointments available."

Agger said they wanted to keep up their vaccination pace as the state allocated more vaccines to the local level.

"I hope that we can get our community vaccinated as that's number one priority," said Agger.

"We do have supply we are getting a lot more people vaccinated each week," said Sparkman.

Sparkman said although appointments for the County's clinic on Friday were already booked, they would still continue their own vaccination clinics.

For more information on vaccination availability, visit the Peoria City/County Health Department.

Paige Blanzy

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