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DANVILLE — Vermilion County greeted the new year with the same stubborn problem. COVID-19 has a stranglehold on the area and shows no signs of letting up.

As the clock ticked down on 2020 Thursday evening, health officials reported 117 new cases of the virus, which combined with Wednesday’s report of 176 new cases boosted the total by 293 over the two-day period leading up to the end of the year.

Vaccinations have begun in the county for front-line health care workers, but it will take time before the vaccines are made available for the general population, health officials have said.

Thursday evening’s report of 117 new cases included four residents in their 90s, five in their 80s, four in their 70s, 12 in their 60s, 17 in their 50s, 16 in their 40s, 19 in their 30s, 16 in their 20s, 12 teens, six grade-school -aged children, one pre-schooler, three toddlers, and two infants.

On Wednesday night, the 176 new cases included two in their 90s, six in their 80s, seven in their 70s, 29 in their 60s, 23 in their 50s, 26 in their 40s, 28 in their 30s, 23 in their 20s, 14 teens, 10 grade-school-aged children, six pre-schoolers, and two toddlers.

The new cases over the two-day period raised the county’s total since the pandemic began in March to 5,825 — 748 of which are active.

The year closed with Vermilion County’s death toll from COVID-19-related illness at 77, most of which have occurred in the past three months.

Health officials reported there are currently 39 COVID-19-positive county residents hospitalized.

The state’s Mobile COVID-Testing Team was at the health department in Danville on Wednesday and Thursday and tested 121 people over the two days — 45 on Thursday and 76 on Wednesday.

Vaccinations continued to be administered after their arrival on Wednesday at medical centers. Vaccines are also ready to be given to health care workers at assisted-living facilities this weekend, including at the Hawthorne Inn nursing center in Danville.

The county’s case numbers have risen considerably in recent days because of a widespread outbreak at the Danville Correctional Center which has affected both inmates and staff. The Illinois Department of Corrections reports more than 600 current cases involving inmates and staff at the medium security prison on Danville’s east side.

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