ROCKFORD (WREX) -- A week ago, county, city and state leaders praised a new COVID-19 mass-vaccination site at the former K-Mart building on Sandy Hollow Road near US 20.
The site opened on February 23 and leaders said it would provide 1,350 vaccines daily at full capacity, adding that it was just a piece of the puzzle when it comes to vaccinations in Winnebago County.
“The Winnebago County Health Department is grateful for the support of the Illinois National Guard to assist in the vaccination of our community against COVID-19. Through this partnership, additional resources will be provided to significantly increase the number of individuals who can receive COVID-19 vaccine each week.” said Public Health Administrator Dr. Sandra Martell.
But, it appears the mass-vaccination site has yet to reach full capacity, and the number of vaccines given is lower than it was two weeks ago and seven weeks ago.
Data from the Illinois Department of Public Health shows Winnebago County gave just 274 doses the day the mass-vaccination site opened on February 23, and just 299 the day after. At the time, 13 WREX reached out to the Winnebago County Health Department and was told WCHD was still entering that data into the state's I-CARE system that tracks vaccines, adding that all data was preliminary.
However, days later, that data never changed.
The state also tracks daily COVID-19 vaccines similar to how it tracks daily COVID-19 case numbers and also gives a 7-day rolling average. As of March 1, the most recent numbers, Winnebago County's 7-day average is 496 daily vaccines. That number is far below the capacity of the mass-vaccination site alone. The 496 rolling average is also significantly lower than the county's highest 7-day average, 1,210 daily vaccines set two weeks ago on February 15.
The numbers have fluctuated since the state started tracking them. Looking at those numbers even further back, seven weeks ago the county had a higher 7-day average. It hit 748 on January 10.
The question is, why? The answer to that question has yet to be answered.
13 WREX reached out to the Winnebago County Health Department three different times and we have not received a response. WCHD will hold its COVID-19 press conferences on Wednesday at 3:30 p.m., where we hope to have the question answered.