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McLean County rises to medium-level COVID as new omicron boosters await

McLean County Health Department sign
Emily Bollinger

McLean County is back to medium-level COVID-19 transmission after a rise in hospitalizations that comes as federal regulators approve a new vaccine that specifically targets the currently dominant variants.

In communities with medium spread, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) encourages high-risk people to wear a mask in indoor public places.

According to the McLean County Health Department (MCHD), the rate of new hospitalizations related to the coronavirus tripled in the last week — from 3.8 per 100,000 residents to 11.5 per 100,000 residents.

McLean County Health Department COVID-19 data
McLean County Health Department
The McLean County Health Department reported 213 new coronavirus cases and three deaths in the last week.

New weekly coronavirus cases dipped slightly to 312. More than one-quarter of those cases are among people in their 20s.

A majority of Illinois counties (60) are at medium-level COVID spread, including DeWitt, Logan, Tazewell and Woodford counties in central Illinois. Livingston County is among 12 counties at low transmission. Ford, Champaign and 28 other counties are at high transmission.

McLean County also is reporting three more COVID-related deaths: two men in their 60s and 70s and a woman in her 80s. None were associated with long-term care facilities. MCHD indicated two deaths last week (men in their 60s and 70s). That brings the county’s death toll from the coronavirus pandemic to 393.

Waiting for new boosters

The county health department said it's not clear when the county will receive some of the state of Illinois’ expected shipment of about 580,000 COVID-19 booster doses. The vaccines are updated to target omicron subvariants.

MCHD public affairs coordinator Marianne Manko said still several approval steps need to be completed before the county receives its share.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized the boosters. A CDC advisory committee is considering them. Once the boosters get committee approval, health care workers can begin to administer them.

The BA.4 and BA.5 omicron subvariants now make up the majority of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and the FDA expects them to continue circulating this fall and winter.

Charlie Schlenker contributed to this report.

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