Health and Medicine | WGLT

Health and Medicine

OSF hospital exterior

OSF HealthCare has launched an updated digital solution to help educate and triage people who are concerned about COVID-19 and risking exposure to go to a doctor's office.

medical staffer holding their nose
Nam Y. Huh / AP

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.

Bloomington and Normal fire chiefs said they have adequate supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE) for now. That includes masks, gloves, and gowns. 

Normal Fire Truck
Staff / WGLT

One of the difficulties in estimating the penetration of the novel coronavirus in Bloomington-Normal has been a lack of testing. As of Tuesday, there were only eight confirmed cases of COVID-19 in McLean County. Protocols have not called for testing everyone. Early on there was also a lack of swabs used to collect test matter from nasal passages, though that is rising.

Safe Harbor
Mark Romine / Salvation Army of McLean County

The homeless population in Bloomington-Normal is at increased risk of COVID-19 sickness, according to service providers.

McLean County Health Department sign
Staff / WGLT

UPDATED 5:40 p.m. | McLean County now has eight people with confirmed positive tests for the coronavirus, the health department said Monday.

Pritzker at press conference
Charles Rex Arbogast / AP

A woman in intensive care in Bloomington-Normal has died of COVID-19, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.

The McLean County Health Department said she was in her 70s and tested positive last week. The department said the woman died late last week.

PATH headquarters
Cristan Jaramillo / WGLT

Those living close to the edge have a lot of fear and uncertainty amid the pandemic. Government responses to the coronavirus pandemic have prompted a flood of calls to 211 centers across the state.

Nurse with a test
Martin Meissner / AP

The daily increase in reported cases of COVID-19 in Illinois is 168. One more person has died, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health. The Cook County man was in his 70s. So far, there have been 753 confirmed cases of coronavirus caused sickness in the state.

McLean County Mutual Aid Team

A mutual aid group in Bloomington-Normal is channeling anxiety and stress over the coronavirus into helping others.

Meghan Reha of the McLean County Mutual Aid Team says the group formed because it's important that people at high risk stay home. Reha said they have about 15 volunteer drivers who will deliver groceries or medicine from pharmacies when authorized.

Notes posted onto board about mental health
Rick Bowmer / AP

A licensed counselor in Normal is urging parents of college students to actively listen and show understanding to help their children cope with the COVID-19 response that has upended their college life.

Chris Koos
Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

Mayor Chris Koos of Normal said the town will enforce the restaurant and bar closure ordered by the governor because of the coronavirus.

Pam Reece
Emma Shores / WGLT

The Town of Normal is proceeding with plans to halt water shutoffs and delay a scheduled utility and waste fee increase in response to potential economic ramifications from the coronavirus pandemic.

"As we know, this situation is going to have significant economic impact," City Manager Pam Reece said during Monday's Town Council meeting. "We just don't know to what extent."

United Way of McLean County
United Way of McLean County

The United Way of McLean County said it will provide targeted help to reduce financial damage from the coronavirus pandemic. The United Way has announced a $100,000 allocation to support youth and families in the community affected by the outbreak.

Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

As the coronavirus pandemic forces the nation to disconnect from usual routines, communities of faith tried all the harder to hold on to each other and offer solace. Many turned to worship online, some as a regular part of the program, others for the first time, using meeting programs such as Zoom.

Sign outside polling place
Jacob DeGeal

Among the many uncertainties the coronavirus has created in central Illinois is election turnout.

"That is the question of the decade," said McLean County Clerk Kathy Michael.

Health administrator at podium
Tim Shelley / WCBU

The first downstate cases of coronavirus disease were announced Saturday. Two are in Central Illinois.

Breanna Grow / WGLT

Starting Monday individuals experiencing a behavioral health crisis can seek help at the McLean County Triage Center in downtown Bloomington.

Students walk in the quad
Cindy Le / WGLT

Illinois State University continues to work to retrieve students studying abroad. At the start of the semester spokesperson Eric Jome says that number was about 116 students in other countries.

Martin Health Center
Westminster Village

Concerns about the coronavirus prompted the two election authorities in McLean County to move several polling sites less than one week before the Illinois primary election.

a fence and field with Special Olympics signs.
Special Olympics Illinois / Twitter

Special Olympics Illinois has canceled its state basketball tournament this weekend in Bloomington-Normal and Peoria.

District 87 headquarters
Eric Stock / WGLT

The state schools superintendent is telling school districts to prepare for digital learning days if the coronavirus prompts extended school closings.

Child getting a vaccine
Nam Y. Huh / AP

Health care workers in Central Illinois say they are better prepared to respond to the coronavirus than previous pandemics because of digital technology.

Mike McCurdy / WGLT

The coronavirus is affecting businesses in central Illinois even before the first actual case comes to the region.

Mark Jontry
Ryan Denham / WGLT

Parents should be prepared for their child’s school to close for at least a week if a student or staff member there becomes potentially infected or confirmed to have the coronavirus, the regional superintendent for Central Illinois said Monday.

Connie Beard

The chair of the McLean County Republican Party is urging her members to lobby against a bill that would require incoming sixth-graders to get the HPV vaccine that protects against certain cancers.

Eric Stock / WGLT

Amtrak is notifying passengers and employees who may have been on a train carrying a passenger who may have the coronavirus. That train traveling from Chicago to St. Louis last Wednesday stopped at Uptown Station in Normal.

Stefanie Smith
Stefanie Smith for Congress / Facebook

Democratic congressional candidate Stefanie Smith says anything short of Medicare For All is not enough to fix America’s health care system.

Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

Longtime McLean County Board member George Gordon said he remains interested and engaged with public policy. He said he is running for another term to see certain projects through, such as the county's creation of several behavioral health initiatives.

State Farm HQ building
Ralph Weisheit / WGLT

State Farm has suspended all non-essential business travel through the end of March as a precaution against the spread of coronavirus.