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

McLean County Reaches New COVID Hospitalization Record; Nursing Homes Continue To Get Hit Hard

Emily Bollinger
The McLean County Health Department reported 129 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday, as the county logged a record 37 hospitalized patients.

The number of McLean County residents hospitalized with COVID-19 more than doubled overnight, up to 37 patients.That’s a new record for hospitalizations, surpassing the 29 patients reached last week.

Currently, 65% of McLean County intensive care beds are in use--down 20% from Monday. However, overall bed capacity tightened; only 14% of hospital beds are available--half of Monday’s capacity.

The total number of COVID-19 patients being cared for in McLean County also is down. That number is now 44, compared to 63 on Monday.

The McLean County Health Department (MCHD) confirmed 129 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday. The county’s testing positivity rate rose back into the double digits at 10%.

The county’s death toll held at 113. There are 950 people isolating at home.

Region 2, which includes McLean County, now meets all of the criteria to roll back Tier 3 mitigations. The region previously had trouble meeting the hospital capacity benchmark that requires three consecutive days of intensive care and medical/surgical bed capacity greater than 20%.

All of Illinois has been under Tier 3 mitigations since November. Meeting the benchmarks does not automatically remove mitigations. 

Long-term care outbreaks

Meanwhile, McLean County long-term care facilities continue to struggle to keep COVID-19 from spreading among their residents and staff.

Data from the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) show 13 open outbreaks, adding two new facilities in recent weeks. Outbreaks are considered open when new cases have been reported in the past 28 days.

The largest active outbreaks remain at three facilities:

  • Heritage Health of Normal has confirmed 104 cases and 11 deaths. That’s up from 47 cases and six deaths in early December.
  • The McLean County Nursing Home now logs 82 cases and 11 deaths. That’s up from 64 cases and one death in early December.
  • Arcadia Care of Bloomington/Aperion reports 71 cases and four deaths. The facility had 62 cases and no deaths reported in early December.

The next largest outbreak is at Sugar Creek Alzheimer's Special Care Center that reports 43 cases and 5 deaths in the last month.
IDPH data show 66 deaths tied to McLean County long-term care facilities. That’s 58.4% of the total of 113 deaths reported in the county since the pandemic started.

The state reports 626 cases linked to the county’s long-term care facilities--about 5% of the more than 12,000 cases reported in McLean County since mid-March.

IDPH data on long-term care facilities is updated weekly. The most recent numbers reflect data as of Jan. 1. There may be delays in when long-term care facility residents test positive and when those numbers are reported to the state.

Coronavirus In McLean County
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Dana Vollmer is a reporter with WGLT. Dana previously covered the state Capitol for NPR Illinois and Peoria for WCBU.