Health Dept. Working with ISP on Enforcement of Mitigation Compliance

By Jeremy Coumbes on November 20, 2020 at 2:51pm

The Morgan County Health Department continues to receive complaints of businesses not complying with COVID-19 mitigation measures, as the county’s positivity rate continues to rise.

Morgan County Health Department Administrator Dale Bainter says positivity for COVID is continuing to spiral in the wrong direction.

We were at a 16.7% positivity rate the previous week and it looks like we will be moving into a positvitiy rate of about 18.7% for our county, those are alarming numbers.

We have run some numbers just at our Morgan County testing site, and just at the one we are operating the rate is hovering at about 22% positivity rate. So those are alarming numbers for us to look at and definitely take note of.”

Bainter says the health department has been inundated recently with numerous resident complaints of businesses, specifically bars and restaurants that are not following the state’s mitigation guidance.

He says the Morgan County Health Department is now working with the Illinois State Police for assistance to get businesses to comply.

We’ve been in contact with the Illinois State Police on almost a daily basis working toward some enforcement procedures, we are looking at thing locally. So hopefully we can get some voluntary compliance in the near future as the mitigation resurgence guidelines rolled out last night at midnight. We are in talks with the Illinois State Police to hopefully get some assistance if we can’t voluntary compliance.”

At the end of October, Illinois State Police Director Brendan Kelly said during one of Governor J.B. Pritzker’s daily COVID-19 updates, that ISP has been issuing citations, however voluntary compliance has always been the focus.

First a business would get a verbal warning, then a written warning, and then a citation if they continued to violate the guidelines.

Bainter says one only needs to look to the schools to see that mitigation efforts do work.

It’s evident that the mitigation tactics work when they are followed, and we can look at the successes of our schools to validate that statement. Schools are a congregate setting and they’ve continued to succeed and I fear that we jeopardize that success if we as a community don’t follow these mitigation practices in general and try to flatten the curve and change the trend we are on because it does seem that we continue to trend in that direction.”

As of Thursday Morgan County now has 480 active cases of COVID-19 and nearly 600 residents under quarantine.

ISP Director Kelly says generally after his department has conversation with a business and educates them on the guidelines, they usually end with the business in compliance.