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WGLT's reporting on the coronavirus pandemic, which began in McLean County in March 2020.

ISU Adds 234 COVID Cases; County Positivity Rate Keeps Rising

COVID testing on the Quad
Emily Bollinger
ISU reported 234 new coronavirus cases on Saturday. The campus positivity rate is 22.7%.

Illinois State University reported 234 new coronavirus cases Saturday as McLean County's COVID-19 testing positivity rate rose to 8.7%.

The county’s positivity ratehas topped the state’s 8% warning threshold for four consecutive days. That could push McLean County into "warning" level status in the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) risk metrics next week.

There is a lot of confusion about why the number of new cases reported by ISU does not always align or match with the number of new cases reported in McLean County. To explain: ISU’s COVID-positive students will be included in the county’s case totals.

ISU’s testing positivity rate stands at 22.7% based on 3,577 tests.

The McLean County Health Department (MCHD) announced 30 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, putting the county's count of confirmed cases at 1,402.

MCHD Administrator Jessica McKnight said Friday the county’s COVID caseload includes positive cases coming from surveillance testing at ISU and Illinois Wesleyan University, but there could be lags in the county data.

“They will likely be getting that data sooner than we get it,” McKnight said.

McLean County’s rate of new coronavirus caseshas already exceeded warning levels.A second metric would trigger a warning designation. Thirty Illinois counties are currently under the IDPH’s warning designation.

The Town of Normal also has enacted two emergency orders intended to limit large crowds on and around the ISU campus. Health officials have pointed to those types of gatherings as a leading factor in the county’s recent COVID surge.

The MCHD said 22 of the 30 cases reported Saturday are among people ages 18 to 29.

MCHD reports 503 patients are isolating at home, while three people remain hospitalized, and 880 people have completed their time in quarantine and are considered recovered. The county has had 16 COVID-related deaths.

The county’s cumulative positivity rate is 3.1% based on 43,800 tests conducted since the start of the pandemic.

The COVID-19 testing site run by Pekin-based Reditus Labs at the Interstate Center in Bloomington set another record Friday with 848 tests conducted. The seven-day average of 686 daily tests also is a new high mark.

McKnighthas pleaded for personal responsibility, saying that everyone must play their part to prevent further spread of the coronavirus and prevent a possible return of business and/or other restrictions.


We’re living in unprecedented times when information changes by the minute. WGLT will continue to be here for you, keeping you up-to-date with the live, local and trusted news you need. Help ensure WGLT can continue with its in-depth and comprehensive COVID-19 coverage as the situation evolves by making a contribution.

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