Local Officials Meeting Today To Discuss COVID-19 Response

By Benjamin Cox on March 10, 2020 at 1:23pm

Governor JB Pritzker announced yesterday that a disaster proclamation had been issued for the State of Illinois in response to COVID-19. During a press conference in Chicago, Pritzker announced four more cases of COVID-19 in the state. All four patients are in isolation and are in good condition.

The disaster proclamation by Pritzker will unlock federal resources that will help the state prevent the further spread of the virus. Pritzker asked the public not to horde supplies and to check in on the vulnerable and the elderly regularly as well as to take care of themselves.

The Illinois Department of Public Health has a statewide COVID-19 hotline and website to answer any questions from the public or to report a suspected case: call 1-800-889-3931 or visit IDPH.illinois.gov.

Illinois becomes the 9th state in the nation to declare a state of emergency due to the virus.

Locally, Mayor Andy Ezard, Morgan County Emergency Management Director Phil McCarty, and Morgan County Health Department Administrator Dale Bainter will be on a conference call this afternoon to talk about the local response. Ezard says he’s simply a facilitator for the two agencies to ensure the public’s safety from the virus. “They have their work cut out for them, but they are very capable. They will help in implementing any policies in our community if [the virus] gets out of hand. The briefing I have today with those two gentleman is to go over about what they see coming. This is what they do for a living and they are the experts. I’m just here to facilitate the information to the community. I think people in the community are really aware already about what’s going on. You see more hand sanitizer going around. I’m a hand shaker and people don’t want to shake my hand. That’s okay. I understand. I think the word is out, but we just have to fine tune things internally on any kind of response that we may have to issue in case this virus really hits home.

The only case to come close to Central Illinois was a St. Louis, Missouri case of a woman that passed through on an Amtrak Train this past week. The resident had recently returned from studying abroad in Italy and passed through on Amtrak 303, which has stops in Springfield. The presumptive case was announced on Monday by Missouri Governor Mike Parson as Missouri’s lone case of the virus so far. Amtrak took the train out of service to disinfect it. They also notified passengers and employees who had traveled on the train. 16 students and a chaperone from the Athens School District were aboard the train but were apparently in a different car at the same time the infected individual was aboard, according to NewsChannel 20. The Missouri woman was under quarantine and was reported to be in good condition.

All cases in the state of Illinois so far have come from the Chicagoland area.