Health and Medicine | WGLT

Health and Medicine

Raptor scanners

A Bloomington businessman says his new company’s temperature scanners may help speed up reopening the economy by giving workers and customers peace of mind.

an old house with an antique ambulance driving up to it.
McLean County Museum of History

The influenza pandemic of 1918 claimed the lives of some 600,000 Americans and perhaps more than 50 million people worldwide. Bloomington-Normal also felt profound effects.

McLean County Museum of History Librarian and Archivist Bill Kemp said you could hardly think of a worse year for that flu disaster to happen.

Baby after birth
Birth Center of Bloomington-Normal

Those running a standalone birthing center in Bloomington-Normal say they’ve seen increased interest from expectant moms who have concerns about delivering at a hospital because of COVID-19.

a zoom meeting grid
Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

The McLean County Board of Health neither endorsed nor rejected the 11-county Heart of Illinois plan to reopen businesses during the pandemic, but during a nearly three-hour meeting Thursday night members expressed reservations and pointed out unknowns.

Don Knapp
Jeff Smudde / WGLT

The McLean County state’s attorney and sheriff said it’s not so easy to say how they will enforce executive orders from Gov. JB Pritzker.

Advocate Bromenn Hospital
Emma Shores / WGLT

Urbana-based Carle is closer to acquiring Advocate BroMenn and Eureka Healthcare.

shopper wearing face mask
Ashley Binkowski / WGLT

McLean County health officials announced four new coronavirus cases on Friday to bring the county’s total to 99.

Doctors at a hospital
Robert F. Bukaty / AP

A major part of Bloomington-Normal’s health care system—elective procedures—will resume this month. But don’t expect to see a flood of pent-up surgeries on Day 1.

overheard view of Farmer City
Farmer City

Leaders and residents in many rural counties in Illinois have begun to push back against Gov. JB Pritzker's stay-at-home order. The response has been a mix of frustration, fear of economic harm, and the contention that their communities are largely free of COVID-19.

OSF St. Joseph Medical Center
OSF Healthcare / OSF Healthcare

In some areas of the country, demographers point to so-called hidden deaths from the pandemic. Those are deaths far above expected average death rates, even considering confirmed COVID-19 fatalities.

karen from PATH
Ryan Denham / WGLT

A crisis hotline in Bloomington is handling a sharp increase in calls as anxiety grows due to the pandemic.

Graphic showing coronavirus cases in McLean County
McLean County Health Department

McLean County reported one new confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Saturday while the state logged 2,119 new cases and 80 additional deaths. Two of those deaths were in central Illinois: one in Macon County, the other in Kankakee County.

Barba and Brownstone

Hospitals aren’t the only parts of the health care industry hurting in Bloomington-Normal.

Testing swab
Ryan Denham / WGLT

McLean County health officials announced one more COVID-19 case on Friday, bringing the county’s total to 83.

A bicycle repair stand.

This time of year is usually a peak period for bicycle stores as warmer weather prompts central Illinois residents to buy a set of wheels or fix up what they have in the garage. Gov. JB Pritzker's shutdown order designates bicycle stores as essential businesses. And even with the pandemic, the bicycle business is, well, peaking as usual.

Many Democratic governors and a few Republican ones have called on the federal government to re-open the enrollment period for Affordable Care Act insurance programs.

U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis is skeptical whether that would do much.

"I think it's obviously open to discussion, but let's not kid ourselves, just opening up the ACA is not going to provide affordable health care coverage to people who are going to have to pay outrageous amounts on the exchanges," said Davis, the incumbent Republican in the 13th Congressional District.

JB Pritzker at a podium.
Gov JB Pritzker / Facebook

State officials have set up digital medical programs with several partner outlets for people with COVID-19 symptoms to keep them in their homes until advanced medical services might be needed.

Davis and LaHood tour testing site
Staff / WGLT

U.S. Reps. Rodney Davis and Darin LaHood said Thursday federal funding to operate the regional COVID-19 testing site in Bloomington will not end on Friday as previously planned.

Miss_Millions / Creative Commons

Sex offenders who have completed their sentences but are still being held in Illinois prisons should be released as part of the effort to reduce the state’s prison population during the COVID-19 crisis, according to a lawsuit filed in federal court.

rows of masks
COVID-19 Mask Making

Members of the central Illinois Facebook group COVID-19 Mask Making said they have already made and delivered more than 1,000 masks to dialysis centers, long-term care facilities, rural hospitals, and other healthcare outlets.

Sunnyside Park
Eric Stock / WGLT

The mayor of Bloomington said Saturday evening he plans to issue an executive order expanding police power to ticket those who assemble in large numbers or who fail to abide by social distancing practices ordered by Gov. JB Pritzker to slow the flickering progress of the coronavirus through the population.

Magic Johnson retires
Nick Ut / AP

“This week is critical,” said Illinois Wesleyan University Professor Greg Shaw.

ISU nursing students
Illinois State University

The dean of Illinois State University’s nursing college says she supports a plan being considered to temporarily allow graduating seniors to enter the workforce early to help during the coronavirus pandemic.

Chestnut Health Systems exterior in Blm
Ryan Denham / WGLT

Millions of Americans struggling with addiction rely on the support of groups like Alcoholics Anonymous. But due to the strict social distancing measures of COVID-19, many groups have suspended face-to-face meetings. The changes in procedure have some experts worried that people in recovery may be at risk.

JB Pritzker
Vishesh Anand / Illinois Public Media

There are now 13 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in McLean County.

The McLean County Health Department released the latest tally Sunday afternoon. The new people with COVID-19 are a man in his 70s and a woman in her 30s. Both are self-isolating at home.

There has been one death and 120 negative tests in McLean County. There are 40 tests outstanding, according to the health department.

A tent next to a hospital.
Ryan Denham / WGLT

Bloomington-Normal hospital officials said Thursday they have planned for surges in COVID-19 cases that could demand "desperate action."

Ngozi Ezike speaking at news conference
Teresa Crawford / AP

McLean County has gone three days without a new COVID-19 case, even as the statewide total has more than doubled over that time.

John Milhiser and Adam Ghrist
Eric Stock / WGLT

The coronavirus story is developing quickly in Illinois. Here are updates from WGLT's newsroom and our partners at Illinois Public Radio, NPR, and The Associated Press.

Megan Fitzgibbons-Sanchez

UPDATED 9:30 p.m. | Lindsay O’Brien of Gridley thinks she probably has COVID-19.

She’s on Day 9 of feeling sick. She can’t catch her breath, is congested, has a fever, and gets the chills. On Monday night her shortness of breath got really bad and she couldn’t sleep laying down. She called her primary care doctor the next day.

McLean County Jail
Eric Stock / WGLT

McLean County Sheriff Jon Sandage has said he does not plan to release inmates at the McLean County jail in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.