McLean County Adds 2 Coronavirus Cases; Expands Contact Tracing Staffing | WGLT

McLean County Adds 2 Coronavirus Cases; Expands Contact Tracing Staffing

May 19, 2020

McLean County health officials announced two new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, bringing the county’s total of confirmed cases to 189.

The McLean County Health Department said the county currently has 72 active cases, down from the previous high of 74 set on Monday. Nine patients remain hospitalized, while 63 remain in home isolation. Four more patients have recovered, bringing that total to 111.

Six patients have died. Three of them were residents of Bloomington Rehabilitation and Health Care Center. The long-term care facility has seen an outbreak of 46 cases, including 29 residents and 17 staff. One of those staff members lives outside of McLean County. 

The state of Illinois announced 1,545 coronavirus cases and 146 deaths on Tuesday afternoon. The Illinois Department of Public Health has announced 98,030 coronavrius cases and 4,379 deaths. 

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Contact Tracing

McLean County Health Department Administrator Jessica McKnight said the agency has the staffing necessary to keep up with contact tracing, despite a surge in new coronavirus cases over the last week.

“We are still managing those cases and we are going to try to look at our staff that can be trained to do contact tracing so that we can increase our capacity while we can, versus waiting until it’s needed. We want to make sure we have those measures in place now.”

The county saw a 55% rise in the number of coronavirus cases from May 11 to May 18.

The Town of Normal has offered summer parks and recreation staff to help. McKnight said the department has heard several such offers to help but wants to keep the work in-house.

“It’s something that takes a lot of training” McKnight said. “We are really looking to make sure we have people in place internally, but if we would need to, we may be looking at those externals through (Illinois Department of Public Health).”

McKnight said a new application on the Illinois Department of Public Health website also could help them find more contact tracers if they would need them.

It's up to local health departments to hire anyone. 

Contract tracers try to connect with each person a coronavirus patient may have been in contact with from two days prior to contact to when they display symptoms.

The health department’s communicable disease staff has been using Illinois’ National Electronic Database Surveillance System (INEDSS) to input patient data. It uses the web-based platform RedCap to assist with daily symptom checks, according to McLean County Health Department communications specialist Dion McNeal.

McKnight said it’s not clear whether any of the county’s contacts have led to additional coronavirus cases.

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