Man In His 30s Among Latest McLean County COVID Deaths
Three more people have died from COVID-19 complications in McLean County, the McLean County Health Department (MCHD) reported Friday.
One was a man in his 30s, the other two were a woman in her 70s and a man in his 80s. None were associated with long-term care facilities, according to the health department. The three deaths bring the county’s total number of COVID-related deaths to 224.
The county announced 73 new coronavirus cases on Friday from a batch of 2,500 tests recorded overnight. McLean County’s total for the week — 330 cases — is the lowest since March 26. Those under age 30 make up more than half of the new cases. Hospitalizations among McLean County residents rose by one, to 32 on Friday.
Bloomington-Normal hospitals have a bit more capacity than they did the day before. Twelve percent of hospital beds are available at Carle BroMenn Medical Center and OSF St. Joseph Medical Center and 15% of ICU beds are unused. MCHD said those hospitals have 42 COVID patients under their care.
McLean County’s COVID seven-day testing positivity rate inched up to 4.2%, while the county’s cumulative positivity rate held at 5.4%, based on more than 328,800 tests conducted since the start of the pandemic.
MCHD public affairs coordinator Marianne Manko said she's worried many people will see the state's move to the bridge reopening phase next week as a sign the pandemic is over.
“We are concerned people are going to think this is over and they really aren’t that concerned about it,” Manko said. “It is a fear for us that people will read that and hear what they want to hear.”
Illinois' plans to expand seating capacities at restaurants, offices and other care facilities starting May 14 as part of a plan to fully reopen on June 11, as long as COVID cases and hospitalizations remain stable, or drop.
About one-third of McLean County residents are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. The county’s rate of 33% trails the state rate of 34%. According to the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), more than 126,900 COVID vaccines have been administered in the county.
Vaccination rates have slowed significantly since their peak in mid-April.
Manko said it's possible many people have waited, figuring it would be a hassle because supplies were limited for so long.
“We knew that time would be coming and we are just tickled pink we are at that point. We just need to get that word out to people and let them know it’s really easy now to get a vaccine,” Manko said. “Two weeks ago we couldn’t say that, but today we can.”
Manko estimated the department has had more than 60 people walk-in without an appointment to get jabbed over the last two weeks at MCHD clinics. She said that doesn't include those who scheduled at the last minute.
“We believe that number is really a lot higher because we are getting people who are registering online and through our call center during the day. We have seen an increase in those numbers,” she said.
Manko said the Pritzker administration’s new directive that doctors’ offices can now dispense COVID vaccine will help get more people immunized, but it’s unclear if it will impact the health department’s clinics.
MCHD has clinics scheduled next week at Grossinger Motors Arena, Central Illinois Regional Airport, Heartland Community College and LeRoy First United Methodist Church.