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McLean County sees COVID hospitalizations rise as COVID cases reach 3-month high

McLean County Health Department sign

McLean County health officials are reminding the public that COVID isn't over.

Hospitals are no longer overrun with coronavirus patients, but new cases have been rising for five weeks in a row and hospitalizations are on the upswing again.

McLean County remains an area of medium risk for COVID infection while most of the state is at low risk, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control.

McLean County Health Department COVID-19 data
McLean County Health Department
The McLean County Health Department reported 521 new coronavirus cases and one death in the last week.

The county's coronavirus caseload has increased for five straight weeks. The McLean County Health Department (MCHD) reported 521 new cases in the last week. That’s a more than five-fold increase from March 25 (103 weekly cases). The weekly caseload is the county's highest since the omicron variant was sweeping the country.

MCHD public affairs coordinator Marianne Manko said a medium level means masking up when you are around people who are high risk of severe disease from COVID-19. “Even if you are at moderate risk of getting COVID, anytime you have a symptom, you should get tested right away because testing to treat is really important,” Manko said.

MCHD reports eight people are hospitalized with COVID in the county as of Friday morning. That's up from one hospitalization as of April 15.

“Cases are going up, hospitalizations are going up and we have the tools to battle this. We know how to fight this pandemic and its fantastic,” said Manko.

Tools include COVID therapeutics you can get at some testing sites should you test positive, but she noted those treatments are only effective when symptoms are in their early stages.

McLean is one of five counties in Illinois considered at medium level for COVID, along with Logan, Piatt, DuPage and Lake counties. The largest share of new cases in McLean County involves young adults in their 20s and 30s.

The county also reported its first COVID-related death in about a month — a woman in her 80s. She was not associated with a long-term care facility.

The county’s testing positivity rate rose to 8.4%. That’s the county’s highest rate since January.

McLean County’s rate of fully vaccinated is 62.4%, according to data from the Illinois Department of Public Health. The state average is 64.7%.

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