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Watch now: COVID-19 metrics are trending upward. Here's what that might mean for McLean County.
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Watch now: COVID-19 metrics are trending upward. Here's what that might mean for McLean County.

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BLOOMINGTON — Call it going backward. 

After just more than two months of loosened coronavirus mitigations, McLean County is bracing for the impact of negatively-trending case metrics that could send the county back a step in the state's reopening plan.

Region 2, an area of 20 counties monitored by the state for signs of the virus' resurgence, is nearing thresholds the Illinois Department of Public Health uses to determine whether more stringent measures are needed to curb transmission.

Currently open under Phase 4 guidelines, a sustained increase in these metrics could send the area backward, bringing back stricter limits on group gatherings, capacity and indoor dining. Whether that happens depends on the metrics staying level or decreasing. So far, all of them are trending upward.

State public health officials on Wednesday announced 3,790 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 out of 80,628 test results reported over the previous 24 hours, bringing the statewide seven-day rolling positivity rate to 4.1%, the highest that figure has stood since Jan. 30.

Statewide, COVID-19 hospitalizations also increased Wednesday, as the Illinois Department of Public Health reported a total of 1,710 individuals were hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Tuesday night. Of those, 353 patients were in the intensive care unit and 142 were on ventilators.

Test positivity rates 

Region 2's test positivity rate needs to stay below 6.5% for three days in order to meet IDPH's standard for staying put under Phase 4. Data from the McLean County Health Department Wednesday reported the region is "currently not meeting this metric."

The seven-day rolling average is 6.7%, according to that report. In McLean County specifically, the test positivity rate also continues an upswing, moving to 5.7% as of Tuesday. That's up from 5.4% the day before.

Watch now: Citing COVID resurgence, McLean County getting more vaccines

Hospital bed availability 

Intensive care unit bed availability should remain above 20% for three or more days, according to IDPH, and Region 2 is just barely making it. MCHD's report Wednesday showed the area had 21% ICU bed capacity across all 20 counties.

Locally, things are even tighter, with area hospitals reporting 96% of all ICU beds are filled and 97% of all total beds are in use. 

COVID patient increases 

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Region 2 has seen a consistent increase of COVID patients for more than a week, meaning the area isn't meeting the state's metric here. As of Tuesday, 196 people were reported as hospitalized due to the virus, an increase of 13 from the day before.

McLean County's two hospitals reported 39 COVID patients Wednesday, a number that's unchanged from the day before. The number of county residents hospitalized as such patients did increase: That figure is now at 43.

Watch now: McLean County adds 138 new virus cases, another resident hospitalized

If these metrics stay at levels that are considered too high for three days, the state could intervene and impose stricter mitigation measures.

The coronavirus caseload continues to grow, too.

IDPH on Wednesday reported the highest number of cases in a single day (3,790) reported since late January. McLean County added an additional 111 cases, bringing the active caseload total to 569. Nearly 16,000 cases have been confirmed in the county since last year. 

Vaccine update 

McLean County will switch to universal vaccine eligibility Monday, allowing all people 16 years and older to sign up for the vaccine.

Watch now: Citing COVID resurgence, McLean County getting more vaccines

Appointments for upcoming clinics will open around 11 a.m. Thursday, according to MCHD. On Tuesday, the state said more shipments of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson would be directed to McLean and Peoria counties as a means of beating a potential outbreak of COVID cases. Appointments for that vaccine locally will be coordinated through MCHD.

Nearly 81,000 doses of vaccine have been administered in McLean to date, according to IDPH.

More than 28,500 people have gotten both shots, putting 16.5% of the county's population at fully-vaccinated status.

As of Wednesday, reports from IDPH showed the local health department has around 7,650 doses of vaccine to work through in its inventory. 

Capitol News Illinois contributed to this report. 

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