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

McLean County Looks To Add COVID Vaccine Clinic Sites

McLean County Board virtual meeting
Eric Stock
The McLean County Board plans to continue virtual meetings through the end of May.

McLean County Board Chairman John McIntyre says the county hopes to set up COVID vaccination clinics outside of Bloomington-Normal as the county’s vaccine distribution efforts intensify.McIntyre said the help of Illinois National Guard members at the Grossinger Motors Arena clinic starting this week could enable the county to expand the number of clinics to get more doses into arms faster.

“It really had nothing to do with our county health department’s inability to administer (the clinic), it’s just that now we know there’s an overall plan and we have maybe double the force that we can really expand the number of hours and days of the clinic,” McIntyre said at Thursday's county board meeting.

McIntyre said the McLean County Health Department (MCHD) and county Emergency Management Agency (EMA) have been having ongoing discussions with the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) about hosting more clinics.

McIntyre said he's not sure where or when the additional clinics might be, noting the timing will depend on vaccine supply. 

MCHD will hold its first weekend vaccination clinic on Saturday at the downtown arena.

The county board on Thursday approved allowing EMA sign agreements to set up more vaccination clinics.

The County Health Department said Thursday the county hopes to expand eligibility to include the Phase 1B+ population at its vaccination clinics “very soon.” That includes people with underlying health conditions, such as cancer, heart problems and other conditinos that put them at higher risk.

According to IDPH, more than 44,700 vaccine doses have been administered in McLean County and more than 16,500 people have received both doses. The county’s rate of fully vaccinated (9.6%) trails the state average (10.3%).

Virtual meetings

In another matter, the county board approved extending its virtual board and committee meetings through the end of May. The two-month extension is shorter than previous extensions set by the board.

McIntyre said some board members are interested in trying to meet in person, but he said it's still too soon.

“We have a fairly young board now. So, there are going to be people on our board who are not going to have an opportunity to get vaccinated until later,” said McIntyre, adding moving meetings back to the county board room also would pose health risks for the public to attend in person, since social distancing could not be observed.

At Tuesday’s meeting, the board observed a moment of silence to honor the more than 530,000 Americans who have died of COVID in the last year and the frontline health care workers who have cared for COVID patients.

There have been 175 COVID-related deaths in McLean County.

Thursday marks one year since the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic.

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