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COVID cases reach their highest mark since January in McLean County

COVID vaccination clinic GMA
Emily Bollinger
The McLean County Health Department is hosting COVID vaccination clinics at Grossinger Motors Arena for children ages 5 to 11 and people 12 and over.

McLean County has added an average of 80 daily coronavirus cases in the last week. That’s the county’s highest rate of new infections since mid-January when access to COVID vaccines were greatly limited.

According to the McLean County Health Department (MCHD), the county reported 557 new cases from the week of Nov. 17-23. The heaviest caseload, 125 new cases, involved children 11 and under. People in their 20s had the second-highest total of cases (99). People 17 and under make up 34% of new cases in the county.

Children ages 5-to-11 were approved to receive a COVID vaccine earlier this month, while booster shots were made available to people 18 and over last week.

“With the holiday season upon us, and increasing cases of COVID-19, we recommend that everyone who is eligible to get a booster dose should get one,” said MCHD administrator Jessica McKnight. “We are experiencing high community transmission in McLean County, meaning that people are at a high risk of coming into contact with the virus. The SARS-CoV-2 virus we dealt with this time last year has mutated into more contagious variants.”

MCHD said 585 McLean County residents are isolating at home and 19 are hospitalized. COVID hospitalizations have stabilized in the last week; 97% of Bloomington-Normal hospital beds are occupied.

The county’s seven-day testing positivity rate rose to 4.2%, the highest mark since Sept. 2.

McLean County has reported 284 COVID-related deaths since the start of the pandemic in March 2020.

Vaccinations increase

COVID vaccinations in McLean County have increased each of the last six weeks as more young children line up to get the vaccine. Nearly 6,000 McLean County residents got jabbed during the week of Nov. 16-22, according to data from the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH).

About 3,000 children ages 5 to 11 in McLean County have received at least one dose of the COVID vaccine since they became eligible earlier this month. That’s more than 20% of that population group.

The county indicates 59.4% of children 12-to-17 are vaccinated. The rate is slightly higher for adults ages 18-to-64 (60.6%). People 65 and older are vaccinated at a 91.1% clip. The county's rate of fully vaccinated inched up to nearly 56%

The McLean County Health Department is hosting COVID vaccination clinics at Grossinger Motors Arena for children ages 5 to 11 and people 12 and over. Schedule information is available on the MCHD website.

McLean County also set a new high mark for weekly COVID tests at nearly 16,800, according to data from IDPH.

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