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Former Heddington Oaks Nursing Home To Serve As COVID-19 Vaccination Site

The former Heddington Oaks nursing home will serve as a distribution site for COVID-19 vaccines.
Peoria City/County Health Department Administrator Monica Hendrickson said the former West Peoria facility will serve as a vaccination site for top-priority workers for at least the next two months. Peoria County owns the building, closing the nursing home earlier this year.

"We know there are a lot of health care providers outside our hospital systems. We want to make sure we get them vaccinated. So with that, we've opened up what's known as a closed point of dispensing, or closed pod," she said.

Some of those workers include EMS workers, hospital staff who don't get a vaccine at work, clinical facility staff, dentists, and pharmacy employees. Frontline hospital staff also are eligible if they live or work in Peoria County. Advanced Medical Transport will help staff the closed-pod vaccination site.

Hendrickson said Tazewell County will soon announce its own plans to open a similar closed-pod vaccination site in Pekin.

Both major Peoria hospital networks have received another shipment of vaccines. OSF HealthCare got another 4,900 doses from Peoria County's allotment, while UnityPoint Health received 2,000 from Peoria, supplemented by an additional 1,000 from Tazewell County.

Long-term care facilities in Illinois began receiving their first shipments of the COVID-19 vaccine on Monday through a national distribution program coordinated by CVS and Walgreens.

Those vaccines also include the first shipment of the Moderna vaccine. Dr. Gregg Stoner, chief medical officer of Heartland Health Services, received his first dose of the Moderna vaccine at a news conference on Tuesday.

Overall, Hendrickson said the Tri-County area is now trending in the right direction on COVID-19 statistics. Last week, the region was recording an average of 279 new COVID-19 cases per day. That's since fallen to 179.

ICU and med surge capacity for COVID patients also is heading in the right direction, she said.

Region 2, which includes the Peoria area, now meets all state criteria to lift Tier 3 mitigations and move back to a less stringent set of restrictions under the plan released by the Illinois Department of Public Health. Tier 3 restrictions were imposed statewide on Nov. 20, ahead of Thanksgiving.

On Tuesday, the Tri-County area reported an additional 194 COVID-19 cases, for a total of 25,750 since the pandemic began. No additional COVID-related deaths were reported.

COVID-19 in Tri-County
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Tim is the News Director at WCBU Peoria Public Radio.