FHN Experts Urge Caution - and Vaccination - as Area ‘Opens Up'

May 10, 2021 – FHN President and CEO Mark Gridley, MBA, FACHE and FHN Family Counseling Center Senior Clinical Case Manager Wendy McGath, BA, MHP, FRD talk about the area's vaccination progress and “opening up” safely in the latest FHN COVID-19 update video.

About 27 percent of the general population has been vaccinated against COVID-19, Gridley said, referencing Stephenson County Health Department statistics. More than 70 percent of the age 65 and older population has received their vaccinations, and anyone age 18 and up can now easily get an appointment to get vaccinated.

“Anyone can schedule an appointment for their COVID-19 vaccination at www.fhn.org,” Gridley said. “All available FHN appointments are listed on the appointment request page, and there are plenty of open spots, so we encourage everyone to sign up and get their shot.”

Along with getting vaccinated, Gridley and McGath both urge people to be careful and keep following pandemic safety protocols, even as restaurants and businesses across northwest Illinois open up.

“It might be difficult for people to keep staying home, now that COVID-19 numbers are down and vaccinations are available,” McGath said. “But we're asking that people stay cautious and keep following the COVID-19 hygiene protocols just a little while longer, until we're all sure it's safe.”

McGath said that people who have been vaccinated can feel safe gathering, without wearing masks, in small groups with other people who have received the vaccine. Everyone, regardless of their vaccination status, should continue to follow the CDC guidelines - wear a mask when you're out in public, keep 6 feet away from others, and maintain good hand hygiene by washing and sanitizing hands often.

“We're all still in this together,” McGath said. “We all still need to protect the people who are most vulnerable for just a little while longer.”

The current FHN COVID-19 update video, as well as all previous pandemic-related videos, can be viewed at www.fhn.org/coronavirus.