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McLean County’s monthly COVID death toll highest since February

Mask Sign On Window
Eric Stock
A sign at the entrance to the McLean County Health Department building requires all entrants to wear a face mask.
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McLean County reported 12 COVID-related deaths in September. That’s the highest monthly death toll since February, when only a small fraction of the population was vaccinated.

According to data from the McLean County Health Department (MCHD) and compiled by WGLT, there have been 257 COVID-related deaths since the start of the pandemic. Deaths had steadily declined for months as COVID vaccinations ramped up in the county. There were eight deaths reported in June, five in July and four in August.

The surge in deaths comes after a rise in coronavirus cases in late summer due largely to the highly-contagious Delta variant.

McLean County reported 15 deaths in February. The county ended that month with less than 7% of residents fully vaccinated, according to data from the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH).

Hospitalizations have remained steady over the last month as 28 McLean County residents currently are hospitalized with COVID. That’s up two from Wednesday. Carle BroMenn and OSF St. Joseph medical centers report they have 25 COVID-19 patients receiving care, while only 5% of their hospital beds and 8% of intensive care beds are available.

 McLean County Health Department COVID-19 data
McLean County Health Department
The McLean County Health Department reported 64 daily coronavirus cases on Thursday.

OSF HealthCare indicated 82% of its COVID patients in its hospital system are not vaccinated. That includes 87% of its ICU patients and all 17 patients who are on ventilators.

McLean County announced 64 new daily coronavirus cases. The county’s active caseload has topped 400 as 374 patients are isolating at home. Fifty people completed their time in quarantine overnight and 21,499 McLean County residents are considered recovered from COVID-19.

The new cases came from a batch of about 3,200 tests returned overnight. The county’s seven-day testing positivity rate dipped to 2.6%, slightly above the state average. The cumulative positivity rate in the county is 4.5%, based on more than 497,600 tests conducted since March 2020.

COVID boosters available

Carle Health has announced it will hold booster vaccination clinics for eligible patients at Carle Normal on Landmark, 207 Landmark Drive, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Oct. 5-8 and Oct. 12-15. The vaccinations are by appointment through the MyCarle online portal,, or by calling (309) 268-5200.

“We are heading into a time where more indoor activities and the overlap of symptoms for people experiencing cold, flu and COVID-19 will increase the amount of illness overall in our communities,” said Carle chief quality officer Dr. Robert Healy. “It is important to take all measures available to ensure you remain healthy, not only for your own personal well-being but to limit the chance to spread something to a loved one.”

The booster vaccine is available to certain populations who have had both Pfizer-BioNTech doses at least six months ago; people 65 and older and people 18 and above who have underlying medical conditions or work high-risk jobs.

MCHD hosted a mass vaccination clinic at Grossinger Motors Arena on Thursday and has another from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 7 at the arena. The department also is accepting appointments for booster shots by calling the county’s COVID call center at (309) 888-5600 weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

According to IDPH, more than 186,400 COVID vaccines have been administered in McLean County. The county’s rate of fully vaccinated residents is 54.1%. That trails the state mark of 55.2%, but it ranks ninth highest in the state behind Cook, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry, Sangamon and Will counties.

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