COVID-19 Hospitalizations Down, Vaccination Numbers Up

March 17, 2021 – COVID-19 activity has decreased enough in the area, said FHN President and CEO Mark Gridley, MBA, FACHE, that as of March 11, FHN Memorial Hospital has had a number of days without having a hospitalized COVID-19-positive patient.

“This has been a welcome break for our team members, and a very good sign,” he notes. The hospital and other FHN locations have relaxed some visitor restrictions, and people are starting to make appointments for regular checkups and necessary procedures.

FHN is working with the Stephenson County Health Department to vaccinate area residents against COVID-19, and that effort is going well, Gridley said. The two entities have just one waiting list for vaccinations, and the public can get on that list at

The FHN/SCHD vaccination clinic gets fairly frequent deliveries of vaccine, and as soon as officials know that vaccine will be available, the next people on the list (based on Illinois Department of Health phases) are contacted for appointments. FHN has no control over which vaccine will be sent, and Gridley urges people to take whichever vaccine they are offered: “All the vaccines are safe and very effective, so please don't wait,” he said.

FHN Assistant Vice President, Behavioral Health Gabriel Gonzalez, MSW, talked about the stress and isolation many people are experiencing as the pandemic goes on.

“With the weather getting better, try to get outside and get active,” Gonzalez said. “That can help relieve some of the stress you are feeling. Spend some time on reflection, and concentrate just on today “ ‘what can I do today to make my life better?'”

Disagreements with others on things like social distancing, masking, and even vaccinations might be adding to some people's stress, Gonzalez said. “Relationships with your family and friends will stay around longer than the pandemic, so work on those and agree to disagree, or avoid the subject if possible.”

Many of us, Gonzalez said, are tired of the precautions we've been taking, but it's still very important to follow them “ wash your hands often, stay socially distanced from others, and wear a mask.

“So many people are still in danger of getting COVID-19, and I don't want to be the person that carries the virus to someone who could catch it and die,” Gonzalez said. “What if I got my best friend's mother sick, or my own mother? It's still very important to take precautions.”

The latest FHN COVID-19 update video can be viewed at