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The latest surge in COVID-19 cases is hitting Vermilion County hard, with more than 1,700 new cases reported in just the past two weeks.

That period reflects the holiday season when gatherings of all sizes took place to celebrate.

Health officials reported that 1,728 people tested positive for COVID-19 in the period ending Thursday.

The county’s toll of people who died with COVID-19-related illnesses since the pandemic began in March 2020 is 245. There are currently 36 county people hospitalized with COVID-19.

The total case count since the pandemic began is now 20,314.

Health officials acknowledged that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is recommending a shorter isolation or quarantine time for some people who test positive for COVID-19, or who were in close contact with a COVID-positive person. But the department is awaiting direction from the Illinois Department of Public Health before making any changes to its isolation and quarantine procedures.

While there continue to be breakthrough cases of COVID-19 in which the infected person reports being fully vaccinated, the vast majority of cases are with people who are not vaccinated, health officials said.

The county’s current vaccination rate remains among the lowest in the state at 40.36% of the population. That’s the lowest of all surrounding counties in Illinois. Illinois’ overall vaccination rate is 60.90%.

Health officials say there are local opportunities to receive COVID-19 vaccines and boosters.

On Saturday, there will be a vaccine clinic from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Boys and Girls Club hosted by Aetna Better Health of Illinois, 850 N. Griffin, Danville.

Vaccines for ages 5-11, Pfizer for 12+, Moderna and Pfizer boosters will be available.

This is a state-sponsored clinic.

Also scheduled:

— Mark Denman Elementary School, 930 Colfax St., Danville, Jan. 15, from 1-4 p.m., vaccines for 5-11 and Pfizer for 12+, Moderna, Pfizer, and J&J available. Boosters as well. This is a state clinic.

— Oakwood Public Library, 110 E. Finley Ave., Oakwood, Jan. 15, 8 a.m.-noon, Pfizer for 12+, Moderna and J&J, and boosters will be available at this state clinic.

At Carle, call for an appointment or go online for booster vaccines.

OSF has vaccines for children 5 and up. Go to www.osfmychart.org to make an appointment.

At local pharmacies, make appointments online and check to see if they have the vaccine you need.

There are COVID-19 testing clinics at the health department on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m.

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