Health and Safety | WGLT

Health and Safety

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.

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.

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.

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.

Dollar Tree sign
Eric Stock / WGLT

The U.S. Labor Department said it will fine Dollar Tree $233,255 for repeat violations at a Bloomington store.

A bicycle repair stand.
Facebook

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.

McLean County Jail
Eric Stock / WGLT

McLean County Sheriff Jon Sandage has placed the jail on a 23-hour-per-day lockdown since last week to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Caleb Phillips tending to garden
Janice Turner

COVID-19 has raised concerns about supply chains and timely delivery to stores. That includes the most important supply chain – food.

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.

Midwest Food Bank
Eric Stock / WGLT

The coronavirus pandemic has taught many people a lesson in supply chain economics, not least of all the Midwest Food Bank.

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.

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.

Gov. JB Pritzker speaking at news conference
Facebook/Governor JB Pritzker

The McLean County Health Department reported the 11th case of COVID-19 on Saturday, while Illinois health officials counted 13 new deaths, including an infant.

firearms shooting practice
Facebook/C.I. Shooting Sports

Groceries and toilet paper aren’t the only things Americans are racing to buy during the COVID-19 shutdown.

They’re buying guns too.

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."

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.

hand cleaning a door frame
WGLT

Everyone staying home is bad for most businesses, but it's especially bad for those who do their business in homes.

OSF

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.

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

pandemic exercise at Redbird Arena
Eric Stock / WGLT

McLean County is putting out a call for retired medical professionals and others who could help with the COVID-19 response.

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.

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.

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