MCLEAN COUNTY, Ill. (WMBD) — McLean County will be masking up again after the Centers for Disease Control(CDC) recommended residents in two-thirds of U.S. counties wear a mask indoors, vaccinated or not.
The recommendation comes as the delta variant is spreading quickly in the United States, and the CDC is hoping masks will cut down on spread.
With Covid-19 cases climbing in McLean County, the McLean County Health Department is encouraging everyone to mask up once again even if vaccinated
According to the CDC, McLean County is seeing Substantial transmission of COVID-19, Meaning McLean County is seeing 55-99 new cases of COVID-19 a week per 100,000 people. McLean County is one of 2100 U.S. counties seeing a substantial or even high transmission level of COVID-19 cases.
Public Health Administrator Jessica McKnight said this is true locally and nationally.
“Over the last seven days, we’ve seen over 50 new cases reported per 100,000, and we’re at about 62 new cases per 100,000.” McLean County’s public health administrator Jessica McKnight said.
McKnight said numbers are headed in the wrong direction, with cases rising weekly and vaccinations not following suit.
“We know that this virus, if allowed to continue to circulate, will mutate more,” McKnight said.
As of now, over 48% of McLean County residents are fully vaccinated for the virus, still a top-10 figure in the state.
Bloomington Mayor Mboka Mwilambwe said the news of taking things a step back is disappointing, yet understand why it’s being made.
“We were generally headed in the right direction; things opened up, and it feels lively again.” Mwilambwe said
The mayor said masks will once again be required in city buildings. However, individual businesses can do as they please.
“With things like this, what works best, in my opinion, is making sure people are educated about the issue, and then they can make the best decisions for themselves,” Mwilambwe said.
Both the mayor and county health officials said the best protection is taking advantage of a vaccine.
“I’ve been vaccinated since April, and I’ve been fine, I think it provides a level of protection,” Mwilambwe said.
“If people don’t want to wear a mask, they should get vaccinated and follow the guidance to end this pandemic,” McKnight said.
McKnight said everyone in the county should do their part and follow the CDC regulations seriously.
“We’re really at a pivotal point in the pandemic response. Right now, we can personally make the decision to follow guidance and take steps that will help us move forward as a community and country or we can ignore the guidance, the scientific evidence and choose to extend how long these extra mitigations might be needed,” McKnight said.
A town of normal spokesperson said Town buildings have, and always will, follow CDC and Illinois Department of Public Health guidelines. Masking will not be enforced, and businesses can make their own decisions.
The vaccine clinic at Grossinger Motors Arena in downtown will be open one more day, this Thursday July 29.