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County's Positivity Rate Climbs; IWU Outbreak Adds 9 Cases

Students lined up to be tested
Illinois State University has two testing sites open for asymptomatic students, including one on the Quad. Students with symptoms can be tested at Student Health Services on campus.

UPDATED 6:20 p.m. | McLean County's testing positivity rate jumped again Thursday as 41 new coronavirus cases were reported, including a worsening outbreak at Illinois Wesleyan University.

One reason for the surge in cases is college students returning to Bloomington-Normal. The latest McLean County Health Department data shows about three-quarters of the new cases involve young people. Nineteen cases were people in their 20s. Another nine were between the ages of 10 and 19. One new case was reported in a child younger than 10.

Illinois Wesleyan University on Thursday reported 10 additional cases, bringing its student total to 29. That includes "19 students who were involved in several of the same off-campus social events Thursday, Friday, and Saturday before classes began ... where the consistent use of masks and physical distancing did not occur, a violation of University protocols," IWU said. The other cases were students who were screened, as required, upon arrival at IWU.

Some test-positive IWU students have reported COVID-19 symptoms, while many are asymptomatic.

Over 50 students at Illinois State University have also tested positive, including dozens in the past week. ISU President Larry Dietz has warned against attending off-campus parties. Bloomington Mayor Tari Renner on Thursday warned bars and restaurants they're required to enforce mask and capacity rules — and they could lose their liquor licenses if they don't.

Coronavirus In McLean County
Other countywide data

Meanwhile, McLean County's testing positivity rate (7-day average) climbed to 3.3% — its highest level in months.

The county's cumulative positivity rate since the start of the pandemic is 2.3%, based on over 38,000 tests. IWU's student testing positivity rate (after 1,500 tests) is 1.9%.

There are now a record 192 active cases in McLean County. The number of hospitalized patients held steady at four; one is in intensive care. Another 188 people are isolating at home.

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Dana Vollmer is a reporter with WGLT. Dana previously covered the state Capitol for NPR Illinois and Peoria for WCBU.
Ryan Denham is the digital content director for WGLT.