4 more McLean County deaths tied to COVID-19 amid soaring caseload and call for more testing

Published: Dec. 29, 2021 at 8:57 PM CST
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correction: This story is edited to reflect accurate numbers released by McLean County Health Department. A previous version had incorrect data.

BLOOMINGTON (25 NEWS) - The McLean County Health Department is urging more people to get tested for COVID-19, meaning they face the prospect of long lines at testing sites like the Interstate Center on Bloomington’s west side.

The recommendation for more testing comes as data released Wednesday show soaring numbers of new COVID cases, a sharp spike in a closely-watched indicator of local COVID transmissions, and the deaths of four more people infected with the coronavirus.

The health department said the county’s COVID death toll since the start of the pandemic has risen to 304. The latest to succumb to COVID-related illnesses included a man in his 50s and another man in his 70s. Neither were associated with a long-term care facility, according to the health department. The agency said two women also perished. Both were in their 60s. The health department said one of the women was associated with a long-term facility.

The health department said the county’s rolling test positivity rate soared to 16.3% for the seven-day period ending Tuesday, December 28, up sharply from a week earlier when the rate was at 6.6%.

Since last Wednesday, December 22, the health department said there have been 1,547 new COVID-19 cases in McLean County, up from 1,137 new cases during the previous weekly period. Of the new cases this week, the top three age groups are people in their 20s, 30s, and 40s, representing 56% of new infections. The next largest age group was children 11-years old and younger.

The health department provided the following age breakdown of new cases the past seven days:

0-11 = 207

12-17 = 112

18-19 = 50

20s = 374

30s = 267

40s = 228

50s = 166

60s = 95

70s = 37

80s = 10

90s = 1

100s = 0

Total = 1,547

The health department in a news release said it’s recommending people who may have recently been exposed to someone with COVID-19 to be tested approximately 5 to 7 days after that exposure, even if they have no symptoms.

“Early detection allows individuals to gain guidance for medical treatment during early stages of the disease, which can reduce the need for hospitalizations, and can also reduce deaths. Testing also helps us quickly identify and isolate new cases, which reduces further spread of the disease,” the health department said.

Information about local testing sites can be found on the McLean County Health Department website.

Information about testing sites statewide can be found on the Illinois Department of Public Health’s website.

Hospitalizations are up from a week ago, with 48 people infected with COVID being treated at either Carle BroMenn Medical Center in Normal or OSF St. Joseph Medical Center in Bloomington. The same time last week, there were 45 COVID patients hospitalized.

The two hospitals were again close to capacity, according to the health department with just 7% of hospital beds available as of Wednesday. Health leaders said 88% of intensive care unit beds were in use.

The health department also reported 1,923 people isolating at home as of Wednesday, 786 more people who were isolating at home a week ago.

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