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McLean County’s Weekly COVID Caseload Drops To 2-Month Low

Girl sitting for COVID vaccination
Emily Bollinger
IDPH says 134,100 COVID vaccine doses have been administered in McLean County.

McLean County's weekly coronavirus caseload fell to its lowest mark in over two months on Friday.

The county added 37 new daily cases on Friday, according to the McLean County Health Department (MCHD). That brings the weekly total to 201.

McLean County Health Department
The McLean County Health Department announced 37 new coronavirus cases on Friday.

The county reports 35 McLean County residents remain hospitalized with COVID-19. Bloomington-Normal hospitals have 92% of their beds occupied, including 85% of their intensive care beds. Carle BroMenn Medical Center and OSF St. Joseph Medical Center have 27 COVID patients in their care.

The county reports 278 people are isolating at home. The county’s COVID-death toll stands at 225. McLean County’s seven-day testing positivity rate dropped to 3.2% The cumulative positivity rate held at 5.4% based on more than 335,600 tests conducted since the start of the pandemic.

MCHD public affairs coordinator Marianne Manko credits COVID vaccines with keeping new cases down.

“We are seeing lower cases. They have been quite effective in preventing the transmission of the disease, and in preventing serious illness and hospitalization,” Manko said.

Children make up the largest share of new cases in the county at 26%. The 12-to-15 age group just became eligible to get the Pfizer vaccine this week. Manko didn’t have data on how many from that age group have been vaccinated, but she said demand at the county-run clinics seem to be strong.

“This has definitely increased the number of people who walked in,” Manko said. “We’ve seen quite a number of children in the 12-to-15 age category who have come in for their vaccines and things are going very well.”

The Illinois Department of Public Health reports 134,100 vaccines have been put into arms in McLean County and just over 36% of the county’s population is fully vaccinated.

Mask guidance

McLean County Health Department administrator Jessica McKnight said the county is still waiting for formal guidance from state on the CDC's new mask guidelines.

The CDC says fully vaccinated people can unmask in most places.

McKnight notes the recommendations are interim and could change if there's a COVID spike.

“Interim means just that, it’s in place right now and as data changes or things change, the guidance could change as well,” McKnight said.

Gov. JB Pritzker has said the state will update the state's mask mandate to follow the CDC guidance.

Vaccine access

McKnight said the department has worked to address COVID vaccine hesitancy among various populations, but she doesn't believe vaccine access has been a problem.

“We are still looking at access as well, but nothing really jumps out at the moment,” McKnight said.

Manko said the county works with health care and social service organizations to identify people who are homebound. McKnight said the department established mobile clinics, especially in rural areas, to try to ensure the vaccines are accessible to everyone.

The county has a rural clinic planned for May 21 from 10 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. at the Lexington Community Center. MCHD also has mobile clinics planned at Heartland Community College and Midwest Food Bank in Normal.


Free beer, free donuts and free rides are just a few of the perks businesses are using to motivate people get the COVID vaccine.

Manko said she doesn't have data to show whether these incentives actually work, but she welcomes the creativity.

“We chuckle sometimes when we see some of the things that people are offering,” Manko said. “I think everybody has their own idea as to how they want to promote that and as long as they are promoting it in a positive way, I think that’s a great thing.”

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Eric Stock is the News Director at WGLT. You can contact Eric at ejstoc1@ilstu.edu.
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