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COVID testing site in Bloomington to remain open; 3 more deaths reported with ties to Bloomington Rehab
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COVID testing site in Bloomington to remain open; 3 more deaths reported with ties to Bloomington Rehab

BLOOMINGTON — The COVID-19 drive-through testing site at the McLean County Fairgrounds will remain open beyond Friday, State Rep. Dan Brady announced Thursday night, just hours after the McLean County Health Department announced that three more county residents had died of the novel virus.

The testing site at 1106 Interstate Drive, Bloomington, had been scheduled to close 5 p.m. Friday.

Brady, R-Bloomington, said that while the Illinois National Guard members who have been operating the testing facility will move to a Peoria test site after Friday, the site at the fairgrounds will remain open for drive-through testing operated by Reditus, a private testing lab from Pekin.

"This is very good news for our local communities," Brady said. "Thousands have driven through for testing at The Interstate Center (fairgrounds) since 'shelter in place' began and testing remains a key factor in our successful reopening."

"Reditus has been providing tests for drive-through testing facilities here in Illinois and in other states as well," Brady said.

Meanwhile, the health department said Thursday that three more county residents had died of COVID-19, bringing to nine the number of people from McLean County who have died of the virus since it hit the county in March.

The three deaths announced on Thursday were all associated with Bloomington Rehabilitation & Health Center, 1925 S. Main St., said Dion McNeal, the county communications specialist. They were three women — one in her 70s and two in their 80s, McNeal said.

That means that six of the county's nine COVID fatalities are associated with that long-term care facility.

The three deaths announced Thursday follow three announced by the health department between Thursday and Sunday. Three people died earlier this spring.

The number of people who have tested positive for COVID-19 in the county rose by three on Thursday, meaning 197 people have had confirmed cases of the novel virus since March 19.

Two of the three new cases are associated with Bloomington Rehab, McNeal said. One is a resident and one is an employee.

Of McLean County's 197 COVID cases since March 19, 48 have been associated with Bloomington Rehab, McNeal said. Thirty have been residents and 18 are employees. One of the 18 employees lives outside McLean County.

Countywide, in addition to the nine deaths, 118 people have recovered, 63 are at home in isolation and seven are hospitalized.

Health department Administrator Jessica McKnight last week identified a COVID outbreak at Bloomington Rehab. But she said then that there were no "red flags" at the facility, and when the health department reached out to the facility, they found that many infection control protocols already were in place.

A representative for Petersen Health Care, which owns Bloomington Rehab, detailed last week infection-control steps that the facility had taken.

The new deaths follows a recent surge in people who have tested positive for the virus, with 25 new cases on May 15, nine on Sunday and 17 on Monday.

Meanwhile, Livingston County Health Department and Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) announced Livingston County's second COVID-related death — a man in his 70s who had been isolated at Pontiac Correctional Center. He was an inmate, the health department confirmed.

Livingston County and IDOC also announced that county's 30th confirmed COVID case, also a male inmate was at Pontiac Correctional Center. The man is in his 20s and was asymptomatic at the time of testing and is recovering in isolation.

Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) told The Pantagraph on Thursday that 191 people were tested on Wednesday at the COVID-19 drive-through testing site at the McLean County Fairgrounds, bringing to 6,425 the number of people who have been tested at that site since it opened March 28. The site is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

Statewide, IDPH announced Thursday 2,268 new cases of COVID-19 and 87 additional deaths.

That brings the statewide totals to 102,686 people who have tested positive for COVID and 4,607 deaths since COVID hit Illinois earlier this year.

Contact Paul Swiech at 309-820-3275. Follow him on Twitter: @pg_swiech.

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