COVID-19: Rockford cancels St. Patrick’s Day parade

Staff Report

ROCKFORD – The 2020 St. Patrick’s Day parade scheduled for Saturday downtown Rockford has been cancelled because of the COVID-19 situation.

The announcement was made Thursday as Mayor Tom McNamara joined leaders from Winnebago County and the Winnebago County Health Department to update the community on the coronavirus pandemic.

“I appreciate the dedication of the Winnebago County Health Department, City of Rockford staff and the other agencies working together to address this public health challenge,” McNamara said. “Our public health staff, medical professionals and first responders are on the front lines in this situation and I’m confident they’re ready to respond. We’re truly all in this together and I’m hopeful our residents will rely on the experts for their information. And, most importantly, take appropriate and commone-sense steps to minimize the impact of COVID-19 in our city and in the region.”

Officials in Boone, DeKalb, Ogle and Winnebago Counties are recommending businesses, institutions, and organizations suspend all public gatherings and events of 25 people or more until further notice as a proactive method to limit the spread of the disease.

Health department officials said the suspension does not include schools and childcare programs, government polling places, health care and regular commerce that would occur at restaurants, grocery stores and other businesses. Social distancing, however, in  recommended

As of right now, the Winnebago County Health Department says there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Northern Illinois Rockford Region, including Winnebago, Boone, Ogle, and DeKalb.

“We want to do all we can to minimize the spread of this virus. Limiting public gatherings is a proven method of containing and minimizing the spread of disease. Here in Winnebago County, our priority is to limit public exposure and get back to normal public operations as quickly and safely aspossible,” WCHD Director Dr. Sandra Martell said in a release.

Martell said the steps are being taken because COVID-19 is highly contagious and because it’s a new virus the general population doesn’t have immunity to it.  Because there no vaccine for the virus at this time, the best way to control the spread of the illness is to avoid exposure to it, she said.

Martell added that while a majority of people won’t become seriously ill from the virus, the most at risk include the older adults and those with underlying health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and lung disease. 

The number of confirmed cases in Illinois continues to increase, and current information suggests that person-to-person spread will continue to occur and more cases will be identified in Illinois. Our goal is to reduce the impact of COVID-19, by minimizing transmission and protect the health and safety of our community.

COVID-19 Precautions

The public can help prevent the spread of COVID-19 by staying home and isolating yourself from others in your home if you’re sick, practicing good hand washing, covering your sneeze and/or cough and cleaning frequently touched services

If a community resident has symptoms of COVID-1–fever, cough, shortness of breath–call a healthcare provider, urgent care clinic or the emergency department before visiting the facility.

If the public has questions about COVID-19, they can call the Illinois Department of Public Health established a hotline to answer questions from the public:

  • 800-889-3931
  • DPH.SICK@ILLINOIS.GOV
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