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

McLean County Sees 2 COVID Deaths, Several Nursing Home Outbreaks

Staff / WGLT

Two more McLean County residents have died after contracting COVID-19, while several McLean County nursing homes are dealing with coronavirus outbreaks.

The McLean County Health Department said Friday the latest deaths, a man in his 50s and woman in her 70s, both had underlying health conditions.

Three people have died this week. The death toll since mid-March is up to 26.

Also, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH),43 new coronavirus cases have been reported in McLean County long-term care facilities in the last week, including 15 cases at Bickford Senior Living of Bloomington and 10 cases and one death at The Villas of Holly Brook at Towanda Barnes.

“Even when they are doing everything right, there is still a chance for the virus to get in there and spread,” said McLean County Health Department (MCHD) Administrator Jessica McKnight. “Where the health department is involved in our long-term care facilities, there are no red flags for us at the moment.”

Melissa Graven, MCHD communicable disease supervisor, explained the Illinois Department of Public Health and Illinois Central Management Services prescribes several stages of visitation rules for nursing homes--access based on several metrics, including number of positive coronavirus cases and the countywide positivity rate.

Messages left with both Bickford and The Villas have not been returned.

As of Friday, there are nine people hospitalized with COVID-19 in McLean County. McKnight didn’t say how many of those were of nursing home residents, but she noted those hospitalized range in age from their 40s to 90s.

MCHD confirmed 24 new COVID-19 cases Friday. A total of 184 patients are isolating at home. Twenty-four people completed isolation and are now considered recovered.

Of the 160 coronavirus cases confirmed in the past week, 50 were among college-aged people in their late teens and 20s. Elderly people above the age of 70 made up the second largest group with 26 cases, followed by people in their 30s, who accounted for 25 cases. There were nine cases reported in kids under age 17.

The county’s testing positivity rate dropped for the first time this week down to 3%.

Illinois State University reported two new confirmed cases of COVID-19 among students Friday, as the campus testing positivity rate increased slightly to 0.8%. There are currently 11 active cases at ISU, with 1% of isolation beds in use.

Illinois Wesleyan University added two new cases to its tally Thursday. There are currently 12 active cases on IWU's campus.


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Dana Vollmer is a reporter with WGLT. Dana previously covered the state Capitol for NPR Illinois and Peoria for WCBU.
Eric Stock is the News Director at WGLT. You can contact Eric at ejstoc1@ilstu.edu.
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