Officials Announce Two Additional Deaths Associated with Fair Havens Senior Living

Officials Announce Two Additional Deaths Associated with Fair Havens Senior Living

April 15, 2020 – The Macon County Joint Crisis Communication Team held a press conference today to announced two additional deaths associated with Fair Havens Senior Living.  With the addition of these two deaths, Macon County now has five deaths due to COVID-19 and also the five cases associated with the long term care facility. Both of the residents were females in their 80’s.

Mayor Julie Moore Wolfe addressed recent social media reports that the facility was not following proper protocols or using PPE when dealing with residents. Moore Wolfe said the Macon County Joint Crisis Communication Team has reached out to the Illinois Department of Public Health for additional support for the facility.  The IDPH is the regulating body over long term care facilities, not the Macon County Health Department.

Macon County Health Department Director Brandi Binkley said proper protocols were communicated to Fair Havens by IDPH.  And the Crisis Communication Team has also spoken with the facility to offer support and guidance.  Binkley said that the Health Department and the Crisis Communication Team were assured by Fair Havens that protocols were being followed.  However, Binkley added there is evidence that this is not currently happening. “We do not know if that is a facility choice, an employee choice. . .but it is a concern. Those pictures did concern me.  We have passed them onto IDPH to make them aware of the situation.”

Mayor Moore Wolfe said the Crisis Communication Team is asking IDPH to authorize all residents and staff be tested at Fair Havens Senior Living. They have also asked that the Illinois Department of Public health work with Fair Havens on proper training and the use of PPE.

“It is very important to know how sneaky this virus can be. . .right now this is about containment and mitigation.  It is important for all facilities to ramp up their infection control practices” said Dr. Venkat R. Minnaganti, Infectious diseases specialist with Decatur Memorial Hospital.

There was a small glimmer of good news today.  The Macon County Joint Crisis Communication Team said that there are no new positive cases of COVID-19 to report.  The current number of confirmed cases in Macon County is 43.

***** Photo Credit – Clay Jackson, Herald & Review


Crisis Communication Team Announces New Cases of COVID-19 at Fair Havens Senior Living

Crisis Communication Team Announces New Cases of COVID-19 at Fair Havens Senior Living

April 11, 2020 – The Macon County Joint Crisis Communications Team held a press conference today to announce 15 confirmed cases of COVID-19 at Fair Havens Senior living.  Of the 15 cases, 10 are of residents and 5 are staff.

The MCHD does not regularly identify the names of long-term care facilities with outbreaks of communicable diseases. However, in partnership with Fair Havens Senior Living, the MCHD is identifying this facility to assist with communications to the community and family members of residents. When cases are confirmed at any long-term care facility, IDPH guidance directs the long-term facility of steps to be taken with residents and the facility. IDPH guidance also directs the long-term facility to communicate this information with the physician, local health department, regulatory agency, families, staff and residents. The MCHD has continued to be in ongoing communication with long-term care facilities.


• Tests Performed in Macon County: 152

• Confirmed Cases in Macon County Residents: 25

• Pending Tests: 2

• Deaths of Macon County Residents with COVID-19: 1

• Age Ranges of Confirmed Cases:

o One case in 20s

o Five cases in 30s

o Two case in 40s

o Four cases in 50s

o Three cases in 60s

o Three case in 70s

o Four cases in 80s

o Three cases in 90s

Upon notification of these positive cases, the Macon County Health Department (MCHD) immediately started contact tracing following Illinois Department of Public Health protocol and guidance. Contacts have been and are being notified and provided with appropriate direction. All confirmed cases are following isolation guidelines. Those considered to be contacts of the confirmed cases have been and are being notified and instructed to follow direction to prevent the spread of illness.

As a reminder, testing is not widely available to the general public, it is imperative that community members, whether feeling ill or well, implement social distancing best practices to limit the spread and contraction of COVID-19. This means staying home and away from as many people as possible as often as possible.

If you experience symptoms such as fever, cough, and shortness of breath, do not present at a hospital emergency room or doctor’s office immediately unless it is a true emergency. Please first call your primary care physician. If you do not have a primary care physician in place at this time, you may call DMH Medical Group at (217) 876-2856, Crossing Healthcare at (217) 877-9117 or SIU at (217) 872-3800. HSHS Medical Group Family Medicine Forsyth is operating a regional respiratory hub. Their hours are 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, and Saturday 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Please call your primary care provider if you have any questions. Memorial Health System is operating a respiratory screening clinic at its DMH Express Care East location to screen people for the COVID-19 virus. The clinic at 4455 U.S. Route 36 East will operate seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. People coming to the respiratory clinic should call (217) 876-1200 before they arrive. Patients and visitors to healthcare facilities should be prepared to be screened before entering.

The Macon County Joint Crisis Communication team is comprised of City and County leaders as well as representatives from DMH and HSHS St. Mary’s Hospital, the Macon County Health Department, Crossing Healthcare, SIUE Family Medicine, Heritage Behavioral Health and IEMA.

** Photo Credit***Jeff Smudde – Herald and Review


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For Local School Districts, Meal Delivery Is Not An Option

For Local School Districts, Meal Delivery Is Not An Option

March 26, 2020 – DPS61 announced plans today to shift its grab and go meal service to two days a week to increase access to the meals and also protect Aramark food handlers and DPS61 staff. However, delivery of the meals is still not an option. 

As DPS61 announced today, meal service will continue as currently scheduled on Friday, March 27 and Monday, March 30, with Grab and Go pickup available from 8:00 – 10:00 a.m. at Eisenhower High School, MacArthur High School, Stephen Decatur Middle School, and Hope Academy. 

However, Beginning Tuesday, March 31, meals will be distributed only on Tuesday and Friday and will include three days’ worth of meals on Tuesday and two day’s worth of meals on Friday. Each day of meals consists of breakfast and lunch. In addition, DPS is expanding pick up locations to French STEM Academy, Muffley Elementary, Parsons Elementary, and South Shores Elementary from 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. on Tuesdays and Fridays. 

“We’re trying to balance making meals available for as many families as possible, while also limiting the possible exposure for our food service staff,” said Dr. Paul Fregeau. “This shift in distribution means we’re still providing five days’ worth of meals to our families each week, but they only have to come out to get those meals two times each week.” 

Since the implementation of the Grab and Go program, some parents and members of the community have raised concerns about the district not providing delivery service by DPS61 employees or by school bus.  However, only a limited number of communities in the state are using or considering this option due to safety concerns. Those include mandates for social distancing and contact with others to help control the spread of COVID-19.  In addition, school transportation is handled by Alltown bus service and is not under the purview of DPS61. 

Comparably, districts in surrounding communities are also taking similar precautions. 

Maroa-Forsyth school district is offering grab and go meal service at 5 locations starting at 9 am on Monday.  The pickups are in 15-minute increments at Maroa Library, Forsyth Library, Bristol Gardens Apartments, and Hickory Point Apartments until 10:30 am. 

Meridian School District also recently adjusted its grab and go schedule to reduce the chances of exposure. Beginning Monday, pick up days will be held on Mondays and Wednesdays at the Elementary School, Middle School, Boody Post office and Hyde Park Post Office.  Like DPS61, Meridian is providing several days worth of meals in each pick-up. 

Argenta Oreana serves grab and go meals three times per week on Mondays Wednesdays and Fridays at four locations: Argenta-Oreana High School Front Door, Argenta-Oreana Elementary School Front Door, Wilderhaven Office Parking Lot and the Camelot Office Parking Lot. On Monday, meals for Monday and Tuesday are provided. On Wednesday, meals for Wednesday and Thursday are provided. On Friday, a lunch and a breakfast is provided. Families are also asked to register online to determine which pick up location they will be using.  

Other school districts, such as Cerro Gordo, Urbana, Champaign, Springfield, Monticello, and Danville are providing similar grab and go programs for pick-upNone of them are providing delivery options.  

If you are having problems picking up meals, contact United Way’s 211 Service for access to meal services. 




First Mid Carry Out Window

First Mid Carry Out Window

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First Mid Bank and Trust and First Mid Insurance Group and NowDecatur have teamed up to bring you the NowDecatur Carry Out Window, with your chance to win gift certificates to local restaurants and businesses!
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Restaurants include River Coffee, Del Carmen’s pizza, Wildfour, The Beach House, Coffee Connection, Doherty’s, Dairy Queen, Decatur Brew Works, Fleet Feet, Solsa, KC Hall, 48 Inn Bar and Jimmy Johns.
DPS61 Donates IPads and PPE To HSHS St. Mary’s Hospital

DPS61 Donates IPads and PPE To HSHS St. Mary’s Hospital

March 25, 2020 – Decatur Public Schools donated more than 120 iPads to HSHS St. Mary’s Hospital, thanks to some creative thinking from the DPS IT team.  A similar donation to Decatur Memorial Hospital is planned as well.

The iPads had already been designated as surplus, meaning they were no longer good for student use and the District was preparing to sell them for recycling.

Jennifer Tuggle, a staff member in DPS IT, heard the call from community groups asking for donations and suggested these iPads might be put to use. St. Mary’s staff say they intend to use the devices to help doctors and nurses stay in constant contact with patients who are in isolation.

DPS also went through science labs at EHS and MHS to find equipment and supplies that could be donated, like goggles and gowns. Decatur Mayor Julie Moore-Wolfe picked up those items today as well, to be distributed to hospitals and clinics throughout our community.

Listen to the podcast with DPS61 Chief Communications Officer, Denise Swarthout:


Hospitals Holding Mask Drive

Hospitals Holding Mask Drive

March 23, 2020 – The Macon County Crisis Communication Team has announced a coordinated effort to collect face masks made by the community.

There will be a mask drive at the Decatur Civic Center on the next three Thursdays from 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. (March 26th, April 2nd, and April 9th).  All masks collected will be distributed equally to both DMH and HSHS St. Mary’s Hospital. Masks will be accepted at the Decatur Civic Center drive-through (1 Gary K Anderson Plaza, Decatur, IL 62523).

Masks can be contributed by offices and businesses such as dentists, elective surgery centers, tattoo businesses, construction companies, nail salons and all others that have PPE on hand. The donations can include boxed, unused surgical type masks (including N95 masks); clean handmade, sewn masks; unused, wrapped or boxed gowns and exam gloves; hand sanitizer; bleach wipes and alcohol wipes to help with the national shortage during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Crisis Communication team suggests putting them in Ziploc bags in quantities of 25. Community members should only drop off donations at this designated location at the Decatur Civic Center. Do not bring them to the hospitals or clinics.

For video tutorials on how to make homemade masks, see below.