McLean County hits COVID-19 warning level along with 28 other counties


This electron microscope image made available and color-enhanced by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Integrated Research Facility in Fort Detrick, Md., shows Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 virus particles, orange, isolated from a patient. University of Hong Kong scientists claim to have the first evidence of someone being reinfected with the virus that causes COVID-19. They said Monday, Aug. 24, 2020 that genetic tests show a 33-year-old man returning to Hong Kong from a trip to Spain in mid-August had a different strain of the coronavirus than the one he’d previously been infected with in March. (NIAID/National Institutes of Health via AP)

MCLEAN COUNTY, Ill. (WMBD) — After consistent rising positivity rates and cases, McLean County has reached the state’s warning level, meaning the county has a week to lower its exposure number before restrictions get implemented.

Friday’s COVID-19 update for the county reported over 200 new cases of the virus with an additional death, all while the rolling positivity rate continued to rise.

A county reaches the warning level when at least two of the following metrics triggers a warning:

  • New cases per 100,000 people.  If there are more than 50 new cases per 100,000 people in the county, this triggers a warning.
  • Number of deaths.  This metric indicates a warning when the weekly number of deaths increases more than 20% for two consecutive weeks.
  • Weekly test positivity.  This metric indicates a warning when the 7-day test positivity rate rises above 8%.
  • ICU availability.  If there are fewer than 20% of intensive care units available in the region, this triggers a warning.
  • Weekly emergency department visits.   This metric indicates a warning when the weekly percent of COVID-19-like-illness emergency department visits increase by more than 20% for two consecutive weeks.
  • Weekly hospital admissions.  A warning is triggered when the weekly number of hospital admissions for COVID-19-like-illness increases by more than 20% for two consecutive weeks.
  • Tests perform.  This metric is used to provide context and indicate if more testing is needed in the county.
  • Clusters. This metric looks at the percent of COVID-19 cases associated with clusters or outbreaks and is used to understand large increase in cases.

Health officials said some of the common factors for an increase in cases and outbreaks are associated with:

  • College parties
  • Weddings
  • Large gatherings
  • Bars and Clubs
  • Long-term care facilities and other congregate settings
  • Travel to neighboring states
  • Spread among members of the same household who are not isolating at home

Counties currently reported at the warning level include:

  • Boone
  • Bureau
  • Clinton
  • Coles
  • Cumberland
  • Edgar
  • Effingham
  • Fayette
  • Greene
  • Henry
  • Jasper
  • Jefferson
  • Jersey
  • Lake
  • Lawrence
  • Madison
  • McLean
  • Monroe
  • Pulaski
  • Randolph
  • Rock Island
  • Shelby
  • Stark
  • St. Clair
  • Union
  • Wabash
  • Warren
  • Williamson
  • Will

Counties are starting to report cases connected to schools. Officials said general transmission of the virus in the community is also increasing.

Public health officials are observing people not social distancing, gathering in large groups, and not using face coverings. In some counties, local law enforcement and states’ attorneys are not enforcing important mitigation measures like social distancing and the wearing of face coverings.

They also said some people refuse to participate in contact tracing and are not providing information on close contacts or answering the phone. They said some people are also waiting to get tested believing their symptoms are allergies or some other cause.

McLean County is increasing testing opportunities in the area and working with schools, meeting with local leaders, and educating businesses and large venues about mitigation measures and why they are important.

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