Health and Safety | WGLT

Health and Safety

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Some Bloomington landlords are getting stuck with huge water utility bills their tenants aren't paying during the pandemic.

The pandemic has reduced the number of students who want to become teachers.

Men reviewing COVID tests
Reditus Labs

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) has announced its COVID-19 testing sites in Bloomington, Peoria and eight other locations will scale back to four days a week as demand has declined.

a burned out apartment building with firefighters outside.
Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

Fire gutted a 20-unit apartment building Sunday evening on Bloomington's west side, with the Bloomington Fire Department saying the Red Cross is helping 36 tenants find other places to live.

face masks hang from IV pole
Jenny Kane / AP

Hospital bed capacity remains limited in Bloomington-Normal, even as the number of COVID-19 cases has dropped.

University of Illinois

The federal government has issued emergency use authorization for a coronavirus saliva test developed by the University of Illinois for broader use around the state.

McLean County Nursing Home
Eric Stock / WGLT

Five nursing homes and retirement communities in McLean County have now gone a month without a new case of COVID-19, leading the Illinois Department of Public Health to remove them from the list of active outbreaks.

Worker wearing mask at COVID vaccination clinic
Emily Bollinger / WGLT

About 900 McLean County residents who were set to receive their second COVID-19 vaccine dose on Friday will have to wait, while others hoping to become eligible for a first dose soon will likely have to wait for weeks.

Project Oz sign
Project Oz

More young adults in Bloomington-Normal need shelter now than during the early part of the pandemic.

Project Oz Youth Service Director Cheris Larson said at the start of the pandemic, many vulnerable youth had jobs, but friends stopped letting them couch surf because they feared the virus. Larson said there are now longer term homeless young people.

The pace of new COVID-19 infections at long-term care facilities in McLean County has slowed as vaccinations increase in those facilities and among those over the age of 65. Seven facilities with previous active outbreaks have had no new cases in two weeks.

Watterson Towers residence hall at ISU

The heads of colleges and universities in Illinois are asking Gov. JB Pritzker to move higher education faculty and staff up to 1B in the vaccination queue.

COVID vaccine form
Emily Bollinger / WGLT

McLean County has shifted to a new COVID=19 vaccine signup platform after many people have reported problems getting notifications about upcoming clinics.


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.

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

Notes posted onto board about mental health
Rick Bowmer / AP

Suicide rates didn't change much in McLean and Peoria counties this year, despite a pandemic that caused hardship for many.

COVID testing on the Quad
Emily Bollinger / WGLT

UPDATED 12:20 p.m. | McLean County health officials say the rate of new coronavirus cases has dropped in recent weeks, but they are calling for more vigilance as another holiday approaches.

Kristen Weikle
Staff / WGLT

The Unit 5 school district said it is seeking guidance from the Illinois State Board of Education before deciding whether to require vaccinations for staff and students.

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.

Heroes sign outside Carle Bromenn
Mike McCurdy / WGLT

The strain on Bloomington-Normal’s hospital capacity eased slightly Wednesday as more intensive care beds became available. But capacity still remains below targets the state of Illinois has set for the coronavirus pandemic.

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.

encased emergency defibrillator
Seth Perlman / AP

A non-profit that has provided defibrillators to schools, churches and businesses in McLean County for two decades is shutting down at the end of the year.

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.

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.

Advocate Bromenn Hospital
Emma Shores / WGLT

COVID-19 has created a health care logjam as new cases rise, but hospitals aren't the only ones strained for space and staffing." class="wysiwyg-break drupal-content" src="/sites/all/modules/contrib/wysiwyg/plugins/break/images/spacer.gif" title="<--break-->">

Heroes sign outside Carle Bromenn
Mike McCurdy / WGLT

The head of OSF St. Joseph Medical Center in Bloomington says staffing remains "solid" despite the need for increased personnel to care for more coronavirus patients.

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.

Sign requiring facemasks
Eric Stock / WGLT

McLean County health officials announced 167 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday as the county topped 1,000 active cases for the first time since September, following outbreaks on the Illinois State University campus after students returned to campus.

image of State Senator Bill brady
Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

Bloomington state Sen. Bill Brady is calling again for Senate hearings on mitigation rules as coronavirus positivity rates spike statewide.

COVID testing on the Quad
Emily Bollinger / WGLT

UPDATED 4:45 p.m. | McLean County reported two more COVID-related deaths of nursing home residents on Friday, bringing the county’s death toll from the coronavirus to 33.

Vehicles parked at COVD-19 testing facility
Reditus Labs

McLean County’s COVID-19 testing positivity rate has stabilized after a late summer spike, but the rate for the 20-county region is approaching a level that could lead to restrictions.