Health and Medicine | WGLT

Health and Medicine

Mayo Clinic

A Mayo Clinic vaccine researcher and Illinois Wesleyan University graduate says he's not surprised some people don't want to get a COVID-19 vaccine.

A December survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation found about one in four Americans (27%) probably or definitely didn’t plan on getting the shots, even if they were available for free and are deemed safe by scientists.

The survey found vaccine hesitancy was highest among Republicans (42%), people ages 30-49 (36%), and rural residents (35%). Black Americans also demonstrated more hesitancy than the general population (35%).

McLean County Health Department sign
Staff / WGLT

UPDATED 1:00 P.M. | McLean County health officials announced the county’s first two COVID-related deaths in a week on Wednesday. The drop in fatalities comes following a surge of 33 deaths in the first two weeks of 2021.

AP Photo/Jens Meyer

There's a twisted silver lining to the COVID-19 pandemic: Some gay and bisexual men are able to donate blood for the first time. 

Federal Drug Administration (FDA) rules long forbid men who have sex with other men from donating blood. The policy dates back to the height of the the AIDS crisis, when HIV was not well understood and there was fear of a "contaminated" blood supply.



Heart disease and cancer usually top the list of the reasons people die each year in central Illinois and throughout the state.  The numbers tell a grim story: 48 weeks into the pandemic, you can add COVID-19 to the list.

COVID-19 is the third leading cause of death statewide and in most central Illinois counties, including McLean, Peoria, Woodford, and Tazewell.

Grossinger Motors Arena box office
Eric Stock / WGLT

Hospital beds in Bloomington-Normal have reached 92% capacity, even as the number of McLean County residents hospitalized due to coronavirus complications has remained stable.

A COVID-19 outbreak at Heritage Health in Normal has become the deadliest such event at a long-term care facility in McLean County.

Emily Bollinger / WGLT

Health care workers were given top priority when COVID-19 vaccines were rolled out across the country. But not all who are eligible are jumping at the opportunity.

Sign calling for mask compliance
Eric Stock / WGLT

UPDATED 5:35 P.M. | McLean County health officials reported a new one-day record of 222 coronavirus cases on Friday, while the county’s rolling testing positivity rate surged to its highest level since early December.

Patient receiving IV treatment
OSF HealthCare

A new COVID treatment has shown promising results for some patients in central Illinois.

Sign requiring facemasks
Eric Stock / WGLT

McLean County health officials announced four more deaths related to COVID-19 on Wednesday, pushing the county’s death toll since the start of the pandemic to 101.

Hospital patient in bed
Jae C. Hong / AP

McLean County is reporting 84 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, bringing the community's total probable and confirmed cases to 11,355.

OSF St Joseph Medical Center
Eric Stock / WGLT

Two new deaths linked to COVID-19 in McLean County bring the death toll to 88, while the county’s hospitals still report 96% of intensive care beds in use.

OSF St Joseph Medical Center
Eric Stock / WGLT

Bloomington-Normal’s intensive care beds have nearly reached capacity even as the county’s active coronavirus caseload drops to its lowest level in six weeks.

Tent outside hospital
Warner Hospital and Health Services / Facebook

Many rural areas avoided the worst of the pandemic in its early stages. Now, it seems the coronavirus is everywhere, straining hospitals that have fewer resources to address an ongoing health crisis.

Community Health Care Clinic / Facebook

A growing immigrant group in Bloomington-Normal faces barriers to getting medical attention.

Aperion Care
Eric Stock / WGLT

The rapid rise in COVID-19 cases in McLean County before Thanksgiving is now tracking through to a rise in deaths among older residents.

Sign posted on fence outside a nursing home
Emily Bollinger / WGLT

McLean County health officials said Tuesday four more county residents have died of COVID-19 complications, while hospital capacity has become increasingly strained by a rise in more serious cases.

Vaccine drill
Eric Stock / WGLT

Two years after McLean County health officials led a full-scale disaster drill for a mass vaccination, the real thing will soon be here.

Drive-through virus testing
Lynne Sladky / AP

With plans for saliva-based testing held up at the federal level, Illinois State University will begin in-house rapid antigen testing in January.

McLean County Nursing Home
Eric Stock / WGLT

The McLean County Nursing Home in Normal is seeing a spike in coronavirus cases.

Staff / WGLT

Bloomington Mayor Tari Renner is isolating at home after receiving a positive test for the coronavirus on Tuesday. Renner said he immediately sought a test after his son tested positive.

Renner told WGLT in an interview Tuesday evening he "sort of lost his voice" the day before Thanksgiving and had some upper respiratory symptoms six days later.

Dana Vollmer / WGLT

The Carle Mobile Health Clinic made its Bloomington debut Monday, partnering with District 87 to offer physicals and immunizations for students.

Kelly Parker manages Carle's mobile health services. She said transportation, scheduling and cost already  are barriers for some families to get their kids' health care squared away.

Parker said the COVID-19 pandemic adds another element.

Drive-through virus testing
Lynne Sladky / AP

Illinois State University plans up to 20,000 rapid coronavirus tests per week with the help of a new lab.

Reditus testing site
Colleen Reynolds / WGLT

UPDATED 5:25 P.M. | McLean County’s COVID-19 testing positivity rate dropped below 11% on Friday after a week of gradual increases.

Prairie Pride Coalition / Facebook

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, there was the AIDS crisis—one of the great public health challenges in the country's history. It changed the way we view science, medicine and the role of government during a national emergency.

microscopic image of COVID-19

Bloomington-Normal hospitals have a few more intensive care beds available than they did heading into the Thanksgiving weekend, but a rise in COVID testing positivity could increase demand for those beds soon.

Woman practicing yoga
Carmen Champion

If your business is stress management, then 2020 is your year.

Exterior of NCHS signage
Staff / WGLT

UPDATED 5:35 p.m. | Unit 5 schools will move to all-remote learning starting next Wednesday because of rising coronavirus infection numbers.

Vehicles parked at COVD-19 testing facility
Reditus Labs

McLean County health officials announced 421 new coronavirus cases and the 42th COVID-related death on Thursday, as the county’s testing positivity rate jumped to 10.9%. That’s the highest rate since Sept. 6, following a surge of new cases when Illinois State University students returned to campus.

Courtesy Tim Kater

Names and faces get lost in the din of COVID-19 statistics. It's easy to become numb to it. But the family of McLean County's youngest coronavirus victim wants to make sure that doesn’t happen.