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Case counts, testing positivity rate, and ICU capacity all show improvement in McLean County

New data from the McLean County Health Department suggest we could be past the worst of the omicron variant locally.

Case counts, testing positivity rate, and ICU bed capacity are all trending in a positive direction locally, according to Monday’s data release from the health department. New cases have also started to fall nationally.

McLean County’s daily average for new cases (7-day average) is now 459, down from a peak of 783 on Jan. 13. The local testing positivity rate also is falling sharply—down to 10.5% as of Sunday, well below the peak of 26.9% on Jan. 7 and the lowest it’s been since before Christmas. That's also lower than the statewide testing positivity rate (11.9%) and national rate (24.8%).

The testing positivity rate for Illinois State University’s test sites also has fallen to 6.9%, down from a peak of 12.6% on Jan. 10.

ICU capacity has improved, too, with 77% of ICU beds in Bloomington-Normal now open—the most capacity locally since before Thanksgiving. Overall, hospital strain remains high; there are 54 people with COVID hospitalized in Bloomington. That’s up one from Friday.

76% of COVID-19 ICU patients at Carle Health facilities are unvaccinated, as of Monday. 82% of OSF HealthCare's ICU patients are unvaccinated or behind on their doses.

However, some of those open ICU beds have been freed up because patients have died. Three more deaths were reported Monday: two men in their 60s and 80s, and a woman in her 80s. None were in long-term care facilities. In all, 26 COVID-related deaths have been reported in January in McLean County.

Meanwhile, COVID’s spread also appears to be slowing in Unit 5 and District 87 schools.

Unit 5 reported 600 positive cases among students and staff for the week ending Jan. 22. That’s down 8.6% from the week before. Quarantined students and staff dropped by 26%.

In the smaller District 87, there were 177 positive cases among students and staff last week. That’s down 26% from the week before. The number of students in quarantine dropped by more than half.

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Ryan Denham is the digital content director for WGLT.
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