The McLean County Nursing Home in Normal is seeing a spike in coronavirus cases.
According to data from the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), the nursing home has had 46 new cases and one death in the last week.
The long-term care facility, owned and operated by the county, has had 69 COVID-19 cases since the start of the pandemic, according to data updated weekly by IDPH.
That total surpasses the number of cases among staff and residents at Bloomington Rehabilitation and Health Care Center that has had 63 coronavirus cases and recorded 11 deaths since the start of the pandemic. Most of those cases were in late spring, during the earlier stages of the pandemic.
McLean County Administrator Camille Rodriguez said the rise in cases at the McLean County Nursing Home is likely a reflection of community spread.
“As with other long-term care facilities, we are fighting the good fight, we are following the protocols and yet we are still unfortunately seeing some positive cases,” said Rodriguez, adding the nursing home has maintained a ban on allowing visitors indoors that was only briefly relaxed earlier this year.
“It’s been a challenge to tell families that they have to visit their loved ones through a window and it’s been that way for a long time,” she said.
Rodriguez said nursing home staff has been staging socially-distanced activities for residents to help limit their isolation, especially during the holiday season as their ability to see loved ones is greatly reduced.
“For many families I am certain this is going to be hard.” Rodriguez said.
According to IPDH, long-term care facilities in McLean County have reported 445 coronavirus cases and 36 deaths since the start of the pandemic.
The fatalities at those facilities make up more than half of all COVID-related deaths in McLean County and nearly 50% of all COVID deaths statewide.
The rise in COVID cases at the McLean County Nursing Home comes as the county set new weekly and monthly highs for COVID related deaths.
The Pritzker administration has added McLean, Peoria, Sangamon and Champaign counties to the list of counties included in the first distribution of COVID vaccines.
Some rural counties are giving up their share of the vaccine shipment to benefit the larger central Illinois counties that have been caring for a greater percentage of seriously ill COVID patients.
McLean County Health Department Administrator Jessica McKnight said Friday the county hasn’t yet received formal notification from the state, so it’s not clear how much that could speed up the timeline for the county to receive its first shipment of the vaccine.
“We are still planning our process of how we are going to go about this,” McKnight said. “We have plans in place at a minute’s notice to start the process of getting the vaccine here to our priority groups--our health care professionals.”
Health care officials have said the first vaccines could be in central Illinois as early as next week.
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