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COVID vaccinations rise in McLean County as booster shots become available

COVID Vaccine Clinic Sign
Eric Stock
The McLean County Health Department has weekly mobile COVID vaccinations scheduled through Oct. 21.

COVID vaccinations increased in McLean County in the last week, but the rate of new doses going into arms is still well behind the pace the county saw in the spring.

Those vaccinations also have had little impact on the county’s vaccination rate.

COVID vaccine booster shots are now available in McLean County for more vulnerable populations — and only for those who received the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine at least six months ago.

Daily vaccine totals over the last week are up 30% over the previous three weeks. The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) reported 1,976 COVID vaccines were put into arms in McLean County from Sept. 29 to Oct. 5, the highest weekly total in McLean County since Aug 31.

The rate of fully vaccinated people in McLean County is 54.4%. That's only 2% higher than it was a month ago. The state vaccination rate is 55.6%.

The McLean County Health Department (MCHD) announced it will extend its once-weekly mobile vaccination clinics at Grossinger Motors Arena for at least several more weeks. The clinics are scheduled for the next three Thursdays — Oct. 7, 14 and 21 — from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. for people to receive a Pfizer booster shot, or one of the first doses of the Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

The county said appointments are strongly recommended for those who require or prefer a particular vaccine type. Appointments can be made on the MCHD website.

MCHD also will have COVID vaccines available at the Sugar Creek Arts Festival in Uptown Normal from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.

Active cases rise

Meanwhile, McLean County saw an uptick in active coronavirus cases after weeks of declines. MCHD announced 58 daily coronavirus cases on Tuesday from a batch of about 1,400 tests returned overnight. The agency said 312 people are isolating at home, and 29 McLean County residents are hospitalized with COVID-19. That's up three in the last day.

McLean County Health Department COVID-19 data
McLean County Health Department
The McLean County Health Department announced 58 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday.

Carle BroMenn Medical Center and OSF St. Joseph Medical Center report 90% of their hospital beds are in use and 92% of their intensive care beds are occupied. The two hospitals said they have 25 COVID patients receiving care, an increase of one since Monday.

Carle Health and OSF HealthCare have both provided data that more than 80% of their COVID-19 patients are not fully vaccinated.

The county’s testing positivity rate over the last seven days is 2.5%, up from 2.1% on Monday, and its cumulative positivity rate is 4.4% based on more than 508,500 tests conducted since the start of the pandemic.

Testing data provided by IDPH and compiled by WGLT show McLean County set a new record for weekly coronavirus tests. There were 16,120, or about 2,300 tests per day, conducted in McLean County from Sept. 29 to Oct. 4.

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