MCLEAN COUNTY, Ill. (WMBD) — COVID-19 cases continue to climb across the country including in McLean County.

The McLean County Health Department said the county is now averaging 600 new cases a week.

According to the CDC, McLean County is experiencing a medium level of COVID-19 spread. Just a month ago health officials say we were at a low level of spread.

Now they’re concerned about the county and surrounding areas entering a high level of spread similar to January and February of this year.

“If you’re on the fence about getting vaccinated, now is the time to seriously consider it,” said public affairs coordinator Marianne Manko with the McLean County Health Department.

Manko said as of Thursday the county was still considered to be a medium level of transmission but new data on Friday could move the county to a high level.

“When we go into high community level and if we do we really need to start going back to those same actions we were taking back in January when we had those really high levels. Everybody should consider masking indoors and social distancing indoors,” Manko said.

Manko said in March, the county averaged 80 new cases a week, in April the county began seeing an average of 200 new cases a week and currently the county is seeing 600 new cases a week of COVID-19. Manko said there are other metrics to look at besides the number of cases in the community.

“We also want to look at disease severity, how many people are getting sick and what is the level of their illness,” Manko said.

Manko said it’s best to test early so treatment can begin as soon as possible.

One of the newer treatments for COVID-positive patients is Pfizer’s paxlovid.

“It helps by stopping the virus from replicating and causing further disease and its best used earlier in therapy,” said pharmacy coordinator Tim Murrey at OSF healthcare.

It’s a prescription five-day pill treatment taken twice a day. Murrey said it can lessen chances of being hospitalized or dying from covid.

“It’s not for prophylaxis and it’s not for patients who are already hospitalized either,” Murrey said.

Murrey says it can benefit many patients who have other underlying conditions.

“It’s only shown benefit right now and only has been tested on patients who have high risk disease progression which include things like chronic kidney disease or asthma or COPD,” Murrey said.

Manko and Murrey said the best protection is getting vaccinated and boosted.

Murrey said if you test positive for COVID, talk with a doctor before taking paxlovid as it has many different negative interactions with other drugs.