Officials urging “wear a mask” after Bloomington Mayor and ISU President seen not social distancing

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MCLEAN COUNTY, Ill. (WMBD) — People in their 20’s continue to be the hardest hit demographic in McLean county when it comes to COVID-19. On Monday health officials reported 99 new cases, saying 90 of them were found in people under the age of 30.

The total case count in the county is now well over 1,100, but officials are saying the same thing now as they have in the past “Everyone needs to wear a mask”.

On Sunday the rolling 7-day positivity rate was at 6.2%, but that number skyrocketed to 7.3%  in 24 hours as McLean County health officials reported the largest single day increase of the virus since the pandemic began.

According to Pritzker’s Restore Illinois Plan, if a region’s positivity rate reaches 8% and stays there for 3 consecutive days, it would eventually be subject to major restrictions. Health Administrator Jessica McKnight says the increase could be because people are opting not to wear masks, because they don’t believe they’ll contract it.

But she says the objective of the mask isn’t just to protect yourself.

“We’re doing this for one another,” said McKnight. “You may not be personally concerned about your own health, but think about those around you, your family members, your neighbors. This guidance will help us control the spread. If we all do our part, it will help out our community in the long run.”

As of August 24th, 403 people are isolating at home, and 4 are in the hospital. There have been 720 people that have been released from isolation and are considered recovered.

Meanwhile in Bloomington, Mayor Tari Renner is apologizing to community members after being caught in public without a mask.

According to Renner a few weeks ago he was in a restaurant in downtown when a live band started to play jazz music. He claims he had his mask with him, but briefly put it down to dance for a couple minutes. That’s when someone pulled out a phone and video taped him, claiming he was not following the guidelines and mask order he has been pushing for months.

On Monday WMBD reached out to him, and he provided us with a statement..

“I want to apologize and pledge to do better. this is not an acceptable practice in light of our recent COVID spikes. Lets all try to work together to ensure better practices across the board.”

It should be noted this comes after Pritzker issued an emergency rule this month, allowing public health officials to issue $75-$2,500 fines to businesses where employees or patrons are not wearing face coverings.

In Normal, pictures are surfacing showing Illinois State University President Larry Dietz not wearing a mask when in a restaurant over the weekend.

Community members say the venue was crowded and the photos on your screen show both he and his wife without face coverings.

On Monday WMBD reached out to him for his response and the university wrote back..

“Both the President and Mrs. Dietz wore face coverings and observed social distancing while walking into the restaurant, while being led to their table, while visiting others, while taking photos and while leaving.”

Dietz claims the face coverings were only removed while the two were eating, and having a drink at the bar.

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