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

McLean County Expanding COVID Vaccine Eligibility This Week

Signage outside arena
Emily Bollinger
McLean County will begin vaccinating the Phase 1B+ population this week.

The McLean County Health Department (MCHD) has announced it will begin scheduling COVID-19 vaccinations for the expanded Phase 1B+ population. The move comes weeks earlier than expected as vaccine supplies have increased across the county.The department plans to add first-dose vaccination appointments to its website at 2 p.m. Monday for all eligible recipients, including 1B+. The expanded eligibility enables people under age 65 with underlying health conditions to get the vaccine.

Those medical conditions include cancer, chronic kidney disease, smoking, obesity, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and pregnancy. The full list is available on the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) website.

MCHD administrator Jessica McKnight said the county initially planned to expand eligibility by mid-April, but vaccination supplies have increased faster than expected.

“I am thrilled that, because of the increased vaccine allocations, we have seen in recent weeks that we are able to open up eligibility earlier than previously projected. And now more McLean County residents will have access to the vaccine,” McKnight said.

She added it’s become easier to sign up for a vaccine as available doses have increased.

“We have seen the time slow down dramatically from the first weeks where all appointments were filled within five minutes,” McKnight said. 

The health department said 63% of McLean County residents over age 65 have received at least one dose of the vaccine.

According to the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), more than 49,000 vaccines have been put in people’s arms in McLean County and more than 18,100 people are considered fully vaccinated. That’s about 10.5% of the county population and trails the state average of 11.7%.

McLean County has vaccination clinics scheduled Tuesday through Saturday this week at Grossinger Motors Arena in downtown Bloomington.

COVID cases

The health department announced 64 new coronavirus cases over the weekend. MCHD said 200 McLean County residents are isolating at home and 14,443 people have completed their time in quarantine and are considered recovered.

McLean County COVID-19 data
Credit McLean County Health Department
The McLean County Health Department announced 64 new coronavirus cases on Monday.

Twenty-three McLean County residents are hospitalized with COVID-19. That’s down from 26 on Friday. Bloomington-Normal hospital beds are 79% full while 73% of intensive care beds are in use. The hospitals currently have 10 COVID patients under their care, according to the health department.

McLean County’s COVID death toll stands at 175.

The county’s seven-day COVID testing positivity rate increased to 2.3% and its cumulative positivity rate stands at 5.7%, based more than 259,000 tests conducted since the start of the pandemic.

Coronavirus - Testing Positivity Rate
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Eric Stock is the News Director at WGLT. You can contact Eric at ejstoc1@ilstu.edu.
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