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McLean County COVID-19 Hospitalizations Reach 4-Month High

OSF St Joseph Medical Center
Eric Stock
OSF HealthCare reports 82% of its COVID-19 patients are not fully vaccinated.

COVID-19 hospitalizations in McLean County reached a four-month high on Thursday, while the availability of intensive care beds in Bloomington-Normal shrunk to 4%.

The McLean County Health Department (MCHD) reported 33 McLean County residents are in the hospital with COVID. That’s up three from Wednesday and the county’s highest mark since May 14, according to data provided from the health department and compiled by WGLT.

Carle BroMenn Medical Center and OSF St. Joseph Medical Center report they have 30 COVID patients receiving care, an increase of two since Wednesday.

Peoria-based OSF HealthCare released data that shows 82% of COVID patients across its healthcare network are not fully vaccinated. Of those in intensive care, 83% are not vaccinated and all nine COVID patients using ventilators have not been vaccinated. Urbana-based Carle Health posted similar data earlier this week. Bloomington-Normal hospitals are 94% full, according to MCHD.

There have been 255 COVID-related deaths reported in McLean County since the start of the pandemic.

New cases

McLean County Health Department COVID-19 data
McLean County Health Department
The McLean County Health Department announced 49 new coronavirus cases on Thursday.

MCHD announced 49 daily coronavirus cases, from a batch of about 4,500 tests returned overnight.

The county indicated 469 McLean County residents are isolating at home and 21,036 people are considered recovered from COVID-19, including 57 people who were released from quarantine since Wednesday.

McLean County’s seven-day testing positivity rate dipped below 3% for the first time since July 28 at 2.8%, amid a time when testing has reached an all-time high (see testing trends chart below). The county’s cumulative positivity rate is 4.5% based on more than 482,200 tests conducted since March 2020.

Waiting on COVID boosters

MCHD public affairs coordinator Marianne Manko said the county is still waiting for approval of COVID booster shots. The FDA announced approval on Wednesday for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for seniors and other high-risk populations, but Manko noted those shots still must clear several regulatory hurdles, including the CDC and Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH).

Manko noted MCHD is offering a third vaccine dose “to those who are moderately to severely immunocompromised and meet the strict CDC clinical criteria to receive an additional dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.” Those vaccines are different from booster shots, which are intended to boost an immune response that may have waned over time.

State data show more than 184,700 COVID vaccines have been put in arms in McLean County. The county’s fully vaccinated rate is 53.7% and the state average is 54.7%.

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