PEORIA — The federal COVID-19 testing site at the Peoria Civic Center has been closed until further notice due to civil unrest.


Dr. Gregg Stoner, medical director of the Peoria City/County Health Department, made the announcement during the bi-weekly COVID-19 news conference on Tuesday. All 10 federal testing sites in Illinois are closed, and no reopening date has been set, he said.


Many areas of the state have experienced protests, rioting and looting since the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25, and Peoria has not been immune. Stoner expressed concern about the effect these large gatherings will ultimately have on the number of COVID-19 infections in the Peoria area.


"We expect that we will see a second wave from that if a lot of people are meeting in public and not maintaining social distancing and not wearing face masks. We expect that the rate will go up," he said. "Peoria has been very fortunate, though, with an underlying low rate. We are at under 2 percent, so statistically it won’t be like if you had a rate of 40% like in NYC, and had the same thing happen. It would just skyrocket there.


"It will go up here, but hopefully not be horrible. It will take about two weeks, 14 days, to see that spike, so we will have to watch for that," he said.


In the Tri-County area, 25 new cases of COVID-19 were diagnosed in the last 24 hours. Peoria County now has 265 cases, Tazewell County has 75, and Woodford County has 22. Two more people died, a man in his 80s and a man in his 90s. Both were residents of the long-term care facility University Rehab, which also experienced an uptick of 15 more confirmed cases in the last 24 hours.


Five more cases were also diagnosed in residents and/or staff at Generations of Peoria.


"Overall, 44 percent of our cases have been linked to a congregant living situation," said Stoner.


The state now has a policy that all staff and residents of long-term care facilities must be tested for COVID-19, and area nursing homes are in the process of fulfilling this mandate, said Stoner.


"I think we had three busloads of people from one of the nursing homes come in to be tested today," said Stoner. "In this case, it was just the staff, not the residents being taken to the testing site."


Leslie Renken can be reached at 686-3250 or lrenken@pjstar.com. Follow her on Twitter.com/LeslieRenken, and subscribe to her on Facebook.com/leslie.renken.