McLean County health officials announced 11 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday even as the county’s seven-day testing positivity rate dipped slightly to 2%.
The McLean County Health Department said four residents are hospitalized with the coronavirus including one in intensive care, but the number of active cases dropped as 14 more patients have recovered. Currently 57 patients are isolating at home.
The county has reported 472 confirmed cases of the coronavirus since the start of the pandemic. Of those 396 patients have completed their time in quarantine and are considered recovered. Fifteen patients have died.
The county’s positivity rate since the start of the pandemic remains 2.1%. That’s based on more than 22,400 tests.
The COVID-19 testing site at the Interstate Center in Bloomington continues to grow in use. The site saw a record 579 people get tested on Monday, shattering the previous record of 468. The site has averaged 368 daily tests since July 6.
As several bars and restaurants in Bloomington-Normal temporarily close due to concerns about potential COVID-19 exposure, McLean County Health Department administrator Jessica McKnight said if businesses follow all the necessary sanitation and social distancing guidelines, but likely could remain open.
“If there has been an employee(s) that tests positive or is symptomatic, a facility does not necessarily have to close its operations,” McKnight said. “The employee that has tested positive should follow public health guidance for isolation and any identified close contacts should quarantine for at least 14 days.”
McKnight also encouraged employers to have staff work in teams “so that if a team member becomes a confirmed case or is symptomatic that only have to worry about one team. This may prevent having to shut down because too many employees are unable to work.”
Based on county health department data, 8% of the county’s COVID-19 infections in July are traced to “outbreak settings,” such as workplaces.
Less than half of Americans say they will get a COVID-19 vaccine when one becomes available, while another 30% said they aren't comfortable taking it.
McKnight said the department will encourage people to get one. She said it will likely take a vaccine to create herd immunity.
“We always promote vaccines because they are so important in helping us control the spread of viruses, especially this one where most of the population has no immunity,” McKnight said. “This vaccine would help us be able to spread that immunity.”
McKnight said the public can trust that a COVID-19 vaccine will be safe, whenever is comes to market.
“There’s a lot of scientists out there that are doing a lot of work,” McKnight said. “We’ve got multiple nations, continents all working together on this. It’s a global pandemic, meaning we have the best of the best working on this.”
Dr. Anthony Fauci recently said a vaccine likely won't be "widely available" to the general public until "several months" into 2021. That would be much faster than it typically takes to create and test a vaccine.
Editor's note: WGLT corrected the story to indicate Dr. Fauci's timeline for a COVID-19 vaccine.
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