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McLean County health officials are concerned holiday travel will make recent COVID trends worse

Virus Outbreak Holiday Travel Chicago
Nam Y. Huh
A traveler walks into Terminal 3 as a sign stating face coverings are required is displayed at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago.

McLean County health officials attribute the recent rise in new coronavirus cases to people spending more time indoors, and they say the upcoming holiday season carries an increased risk for coronavirus spread.

The McLean County Health Department (MCHD) is encouraging the public to follow CDC guidance as the holidays approach. The department urges the public to “protect those not yet eligible for vaccination as young children by getting yourself and other eligible people around them vaccinated.”

It added that even those who are fully vaccinated should wear a mask in public indoor settings in communities with substantial-to-high COVID transmission. That includes McLean County.

MCHD public affairs coordinator Marianne Manko said anyone who is traveling with a group of people from multiple households and different parts of the country should consider additional precautions such as avoiding crowded indoor spaces before travel and taking a COVID test before the gathering.

Twenty-three McLean County residents are hospitalized with COVID-19. That's the county's highest total in over a month. However, the county's current caseload has dropped as COVID vaccinations increase.

MCHD said 437 people are isolating at home — down from 470 on Monday.

Nearly 5,900 COVID vaccines have been put in arms in McLean County in the last week. That's the county's highest total since late May.

This is the first full week that vaccines have been available for 5-to-11-year-olds. According to data from the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), more than 2,300 children in that age group have received one dose of the vaccine. That’s close to 17% of that population.

The county's rate of fully vaccinated is 55.6%, a rate that hasn’t moved much for several weeks.

McLean County’s seven-day testing positivity rate rose to 3.8%.

There have been 283 COVID-related deaths reported in McLean County since the start of the pandemic. That includes the death of a man in his 20s that was reported last week. Manko indicated the man had underlying health conditions.

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