McLean County hasn't had any new COVID-19 cases in the last two days, but county health officials said Wednesday it could still take weeks to determine if social distancing efforts are starting to flatten the curve in the county.
“It’s too early to celebrate,” McLean County Health Department communicable disease supervisor Melissa Graven said, referring to data which shows the number of negative tests slowly rising in the county. “That’s just a snapshot in time of what those tests indicate. We still have more tests pending.”
The county health department reports approximately 110 patients have been tested for COVID-19, including 71 negative tests and 34 awaiting results.
Graven acknowledged testing remains behind the curve as officials locally and nationally try to identify and isolate those infected.
“That’s the million-dollar question we all would like the answer to,” Graven said about the timeline for more testing kits to arrive in Bloomington-Normal hospitals. “The testing supply is not meeting the demand.
“We are doing what we can to ensure people have access to testing who meet the criteria.”
Anyone who is displaying mild or no symptoms is not being tested. Medical providers are telling them to stay home and self-quarantine.
Graven said more testing will provide a more accurate picture. As for President Donald Trump's call for life to return to normal by Easter, Graven pumps the brakes.
“At this point I think it’s too soon for us to make that determination and I just look forward to what public health experts and the data shows us,” she replied.
Graven said three of the county's eight COVID-19 cases remain hospitalized, with one still in intensive care. One of the patients died. She said the county is still looking to identify from where or whom four of the patients became exposed to the virus.
McLean County Health Department Administrator Jessica McKnight said county and state officials hope to announce soon a regional drive-thru COVID-19 testing side that would be available for first responders and health care workers who have direct contact with patients.
“This is ongoing planning and our local emergency management and (the McLean County) sheriff’s office are working with the Illinois Department of Public Health and Illinois National Guard to get the details of that finalized,” McKnight said. “We hope to bring you more information in the next couple of days about that.”
McLean County has been in talks with the hospitals, American Red Cross and other community partners to identify facilities that could house COVID-19 patients if the hospitals become overrun as they have in Chicago and New York.
“We are actually considering large facilities like a hotel, gyms, community centers," McLean County Health Department Emergency Services Coordinator David Hopper said. "It’s identifying a facility and then determining what type of facility that can be to determine whether or not it can suit that need.
“Nothing is really off the table as far at this point regarding types of facilities.”
The state of Illinois reported 330 additional COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, bringing its total to 1,865. Nineteen have died.
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