UPDATED 5:05 P.M. | McLean County health officials announced 35 new coronavirus cases on Friday, and an equal number of patients recovering.
The county saw a drop to 11 hospitalizations, down one from Thursday, while the number of patients isolating at home ticked up one to 282, according to the McLean County Health Department (MCHD).
MCHD Administrator Jessica McKnight said the county has seen an increase in connected cases.
"It could be a work site. It could be any type of office setting, retail setting, places where people are interacting very often together, especially in closed quarters," McKnight said.
The county’s total number of coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic has reached 3,782, while the health department said 3,459 patients have completed their time in quarantine and are considered recovered.
McLean County’s seven-day testing positivity rate inched upward to 4.4%, while the county’s cumulative positivity rate since the start of the pandemic remains 4.3%, based on more than 87,100 tests.
The county reported 276 new coronavirus cases over the last week. People in their 20s make up the largest percentage with 99 cases, while those under age 30 account for about half of the new cases.
The new cases are more evenly spread among all groups than at the start of the school year, when it was mostly college students contracting the coronavirus. McKnight said this is a sign of community spread.
"Some same behaviors that several months ago when the virus wasn't as prevalent in our community, we may have been a little more lax with ... because it is so widespread," McKnight said.
Illinois State University reported three new coronavirus cases on Friday. The campus currently has 38 active cases. It's seven-day testing positivity rate dipped to 2.3%. ISU has had 1,397 coronavirus positives since the pandemic began.
The COVID testing site at the Interstate Center in Bloomington conducted 674 tests on Thursday. The site run by Pekin-based Reditus Labs remains open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.
MCHD indicated it will stop posting daily COVID updates on weekends.
Meanwhile, the state of Illinois has set single-day records for new cases on consecutive days, with 4,015 new cases Thursday and 4,554 cases on Friday. That's due in part to more testing, but the positivity rate also has increased.
And, McKnight said the county is bracing for a surge in coronavirus cases as the move people stay inside.
"We are anticipating especially as colder weather comes in, the holidays, people are traveling, that we may also see our cases numbers increase," she said. "That's what we are preparing for."
While a COVID vaccine is likely still months away, McKnight said the health department has started to work on where and how a vaccine would be distributed.
She said the department is working on vaccine sites based on several variables.
"Scenarios being inside facilities, or drive-thru similar to a drive-up testing (site), so we are looking at sites that may be able to offer both of those," McKnight said.
Chestnut Health Systems in Bloomington did a test run on Wednesday as a COVID vaccine site, but any vaccine the agency gets would likely be limited to staff, their families and clients.
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