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McLean County Adds 151 COVID Cases Over Weekend; Delta Variant Mutating

Vaccine card.jpg
Eric Stock
The FDA has granted full authorization of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for people ages 16 and older.

McLean County’s active COVID-19 caseload reached its highest level since April on Monday as health officials raise more concerns about the Delta variant they say is quickly mutating.

The McLean County Health Department (MCHD) announced 151 new coronavirus cases on Monday. The positive tests have occurred since Friday.

McLean County Health Department COVID-19 data
McLean County Health Department
The McLean County Health Department announced 151 new coronavirus cases on Monday.

Twenty-two McLean County residents are hospitalized with COVID-19, while 454 people are isolating at home. The county’s 476 active cases are most the county has had since April 30. Carle BroMenn Medical Center and OSF St. Joseph Medical Center report they have 40 COVID patients in their care.

Despite the rise in COVID cases and hospitalizations, the county has gone two weeks without a COVID-related death. There have been 242 COVID-related deaths in McLean County since the start of the pandemic.

McLean County’s seven-day testing positivity rate dropped a half point to 4.1%. The county’s cumulative testing positivity rate is 4.8%, based on more than 418,900 tests conducted since March 2020.

Delta variant mutating

Reditus Laboratories in Pekin said the highly contagious Delta variant continues to quickly mutate.

CEO Dr. Aaron Rossi said in a news release Reditus identified 361 additional cases of the Delta variant and its subvariants during a sequencing run on Aug. 12. Rossi said those variants and subvariants accounted for 99% of the entire sequenced positives from across Illinois.

“The Delta variant (B.1.617.2) is currently the most predominate SARS-CoV-2 circulating within the U.S. and are supported by these data within our testing area,” Rossi said. “However, we are also seeing a large number of Delta sub-variants with some only beginning to be mentioned elsewhere.”

Aaron Rossi
Aaron Rossi

Rossi noted the AY.12 subvariant is nearly equal in prevalence as the original B.1.617.2, even though that subvariant is not as common in U.S. circulation.

“These data suggest that the Delta variant is mutating as quickly as it has risen to the predominate strain,” Rossi said.

3rd dose for immunocompromised

MCHD encouraged people who are immunocompromised to talk to their medical provider about getting a third dose of the COVID vaccine, now that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has approved an additional dose for those with weakened immunity.

“This additional dose is intended to improve immunocompromised people’s response to their initial vaccine series. However, it is not the same as a booster dose, which is given to people when the immune response to a primary vaccine series is likely to have waned over time,” MCHD public affairs coordinator Marianne Manko said in a news release.

Manko noted the CDC estimates the immunocompromised group makes up about 3% of the population.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Monday granted full approval of the Pfizer vaccine for people ages 16 and older, while the shots remain under emergency authorization for children ages 12 to 15 and for immunocompromised people seeking a third dose.

According to the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), 178,576 COVID vaccine doses have been administered in McLean County and 51.6% of the county’s residents are fully vaccinated, compared with the state average of 52.6%.

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