136 New COVID-19 Cases in IL; 3 Deaths

136 New COVID-19 Cases in IL; 3 Deaths

March 19, 2020 – The Illinois Department of Public Health today announced the death of three people in Illinois with coronavirus disease (COVID-19).  The individuals include a Will County resident in his 50s and a Cook County resident in her 80s, and an out-of-state resident in her 70s who was in Sangamon County.

“I am saddened to announce three more people in Illinois with coronavirus disease have passed away,” said IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike.  “We ask everyone to please, stay home as much as possible so we can reduce the number of people who are infected and potentially suffer serious illness, including death.”

There are 136 new cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) across Illinois.  Five additional counties are now reporting cases; Jackson, Kankakee, LaSalle, Washington, and  Williamson counties.

Currently, IDPH is reporting a total of 422 cases in 22 counties in Illinois.  Cases have occurred in ages 9 to 99.  Cases by county can be found on the IDPH website, as well as a list of local health departments who will have the most up-to-date information.

The number of COVID-19 cases being reported is rising quickly, partly because of the increase in testing by commercial and hospital laboratories.  Because testing is becoming more available in these labs, IDPH will prioritize testing for our most vulnerable populations, such as those who work or live in nursing homes and other congregate facilities.  Once a case in these locations is confirmed, per Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance, testing of all residents and staff without symptoms is not recommended.  However, all precautions to prevent additional spread should be taken and staff and residents should be closely monitored for respiratory illness.

But the growing number of cases also reflects a rapid spread of disease across communities.  While these numbers are concerning, it’s not unexpected and the more robust information will allow us to better understand and track the size and scope of the outbreak and strengthen prevention and response efforts.

Illinois Reports First COVID-19 Death

Illinois Reports First COVID-19 Death

March 17, 2020 – (AP) Gov. J.B. Pritzker has announced the first coronavirus death in Illinois.  Pritzker said announcing the death of an Illinois resident due to the coronavirus outbreak was something he has been dreading since the crisis began. The victim was a Chicago woman in her 60s who had an underlying health condition and had extended contact with another infected person. The governor added the woman was not a nursing home patient. The Illinois Department of Public Health is reporting 160 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the state. Among them are 18 residents of a nursing home outside Chicago and four members of the facility’s staff. All of those infected have been isolated, officials said. The location of the facility wasn’t disclosed. Coronavirus infections across the country reached approximately 5,200, and the death toll climbed to at least 97, with more than half of the dead from Washington state. Worldwide, more than 7,300 have died.

The Illinois Retail Merchants Association: Avoid Stockpiling

The Illinois Retail Merchants Association: Avoid Stockpiling

March 16th, 2020- The Illinois Retail Merchants Association (IRMA) issued the following statement urging consumers to practice normal shopping routines and avoid stockpiling amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

“It’s imperative for everyone to maintain their normal shopping routine to ensure the safety of our employees, fellow customers, and your neighbors. IRMA has worked closely with state officials to ensure regulatory obstacles to restocking shelves are removed so consumers can access items they may need during this public health crisis. The retail industry is working around the clock to ensure its customers throughout Illinois will have the products it needs for you, your families and businesses. Our members in the grocery, pharmacy, convenience, hardware, restaurant, and every type of retail business, manage supply and demand chain needs on a constant basis which is a hallmark of this industry,” said Rob Karr, President & CEO, IRMA.
Additionally, as we attempt to control the outbreak of COVD-19 and more people work from home, it is important to provide options that alleviate the pressure placed on grocery, pharmacy, convenience, restaurant, and retail stores. This is why it is crucial that we still allow restaurants to provide delivery, drive-thru, take-out, and curbside pick-up. At the very least, the following entities must remain open:
  • Grocery stores;
  • Pharmacies;
  • Convenience store and gas stations with grocery items;
  • Stores with cleaning and sanitation supplies;
  • Stores with pet supplies;
  • Stores with electronic items

IRMA also reminded the public to follow the advice of the Illinois Department of Public Health, the Chicago Department of Public Health, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention by engaging in social-distancing and good hygiene practices, which include washing hands repeatedly and thoroughly. Most importantly, we urge all consumers to stay home when sick.

Macon County Health Department to Close Monday to Prepare Screenings Procedures

Macon County Health Department to Close Monday to Prepare Screenings Procedures

March 15, 2020 – The Macon County Health Department has announced they will close Monday, March 16th in order to finalize screening procedures for COVID-19.

Statement from the Macon County Health Department:

While we currently do not have cases of COVID-19 in Macon County, we want to assure the community that the leadership and staff are taking all necessary precautions and actions to ensure the health and safety of our staff and community. We are constantly working with our community partners, the Illinois Department of Public Health, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to remain vigilant, informed and prepared to implement processes and procedures to ensure safety for all.

The Macon County Health Department building will be closed to the public on Monday, March 16, 2020, in order to finalize screening and staffing implementation plans.

Following March 16th, we will be cancelling in-home visits to our clients/patients unless our clients/patients have been contacted otherwise until further notice. We will be cancelling non-essential services to prevent risk and high numbers of people in the building. We realize that it will be difficult to reschedule appointments at this time due to the uncertainty moving forward, so we will contact you as soon as possible to reschedule.

As we try to do what’s best for our staff, clients/patients and community, please be understanding and patient with our staff as they strive to serve you as safely and adequately as possible. We ask the public to please refrain from coming to the Macon County Health Department (MCHD) unless your business cannot be resolved in any other way. Anyone with visits/appointments in the MCHD that cannot be resolved electronically or via phone call is asked to follow guidelines outlined by public health authorities. Again, please look online and/or call for alternative avenues to conduct your business so you do not have to make an appearance to the MCHD.

Additionally: • Anyone who is ill, or is living with someone who is ill, should not come to the MCHD.

• All persons (staff and visitors) entering the MCHD will be asked to answer screening questions and complete screening activities.

o Facilities should actively screen and restrict visitation by those who meet the following criteria:

  •  Signs and symptoms of a respiratory infection, such as fever, cough, shortness of breath, or sore throat.
  •  In the last 14 days, has had contact with someone with a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19, or under investigation for COVID-19, or are ill with respiratory illness.
  •  International travel within the last 14 days to countries with sustained community transmission.
  •  Temperatures will be taken.
  •  If you feel that you do need to come to the MCHD, please do not bring along other people who don’t have business to take care of or have a need to be there. •
  • Please understand that our staff will practice social distancing throughout our building as best as we can. IDPH, in coordination with the Illinois Poison Control Center, has launched the Illinois Novel Coronavirus Hotline and email address to answer questions that Local Health Departments, clinicians, and the general public may have regarding COVID-19. The hotline and email address were created to provide consistent information, answer questions, share facts about symptoms, and provide up-to-date information from the CDC. Illinoisans can dial 1-800- 889-3931 twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week or email DPH.SICK@ILLINOIS.GOV.
Ameren Suspends Service Disconnections

Ameren Suspends Service Disconnections

March 14, 2020 – Ameren released the following statement in response to Gov. Pritzker and the ICC’s call on utility service providers to grant disconnection amnesty programs in wake of the spread of COVID-19.

In response to the economic hardships that our residential and business customers may experience due to the COVID-19 pandemic, effective today, Ameren Illinois will suspend service disconnections and forgive late payment fees for non-payment through at least May 1.

“The COVID-19 pandemic may result in lost income for some of our customers, particularly the most vulnerable. We want all of our customers to have peace of mind that they will have energy service as we navigate through this unprecedented situation,” said Richard J. Mark, Chairman and President, Ameren Illinois.  

Customers needing assistance with paying their bill should contact our customer care team at AmerenIllinois.com for payment options.

Decatur Park District Cancels Programing And Events

Decatur Park District Cancels Programing And Events

March 13th, 2020- The Decatur Park District is committed to protecting the health and safety of our patrons and staff. The District continues to monitor the recent COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak, along with the guidelines and safety information released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Illinois Department of Public Health, the Macon County Health Department and The Park District Risk Management Association (PDRMA).

In accordance with recent CDC and State of Illinois guidelines that have been released and supporting social distancing, we will be taking the following precautions:

• All group programming, classes, events, trips and tournaments hosted by the Decatur Park District are suspended until April 15. This includes: Midstate soccer, Perform! show (postponed until further notice), Little League baseball/softball, lacrosse, dance, volleyball, tumbling, pickleball tournament, special recreation association (SRA), seniors, umpire clinic, adult basketball and volleyball leagues, Greater Decatur Chorale and preschool programs.

• The Decatur Indoor Sports Center (DISC) will remain open for individual fitness access, but all group fitness classes and activities will be suspended until April 15.

• Our golf courses will remain open for golfers.

• In an effort to protect our seniors, all programming at the Scovill Activity Center will be suspended until April 15.

• The Decatur Airport follows the recommendations of the FAA and is currently operating flights as scheduled.

• All pavilion and facility rentals will be at the discretion of the renter. If you are renting from the Decatur Park District, you can choose to maintain your rental, reschedule your rental at no charge for another open date, or cancel your event for a full refund.

• All outdoor parks and facilities will remain on track for their opening date at this time.

• Our administrative office will remain open to continue fully serving our community.

We will be addressing all requests for refunds and credits due to our cancellation or postponement per program. Rest assured; we will be continually monitoring the news as information develops on a daily basis for updated procedures that may need to be taken. In order to help limit the spread of the virus, The Decatur Park District has implemented an accelerated cleaning regimen at all facilities. For your personal safety and the safety of others, we ask that you refrain from visiting park areas and facilities if you and/or your immediate family are not feeling well or have traveled to an area that has had positive findings of COVID-19. We urge you to keep abreast of the latest public health information via the CDC website at www.cdc.gov. Please visit www.decatur-parks.org for activity and program suspension and facility closure updates.

Decatur Made CAT Truck Still in Running for Coolest Thing Made in IL

Decatur Made CAT Truck Still in Running for Coolest Thing Made in IL

March 11, 2020 – Decatur is still in the running to be the home of one of the coolest things made in Illinois. With nearly 100,000 votes cast, the field of contenders has been narrowed to the Top 16 as the inaugural “Makers Madness” contest to determine the Coolest Thing Made in Illinois continues. Hosted by the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association, the bracket-style tournament narrowed down a list of over 250 products.  Right now, Caterpillar’s 797F Large Mining Truck is in bracket D   against Plochman’s (Plock-mans) Craft Beer Blended Mustard. The second round of voting is currently underway to further narrow the competition, which will culminate in an awards ceremony at the Governor’s Mansion on April 1. Voting is now open through March 15th. You can cast one vote per day in each bracket. Find the link HERE


Raiders Take on Goreville on the Road to Peoria

Raiders Take on Goreville on the Road to Peoria

March 9th, 2020 – After a convincing 57-43 win over Effingham St. Anthony, the Central A&M Raiders are one game away from getting back to the State Championships in Peoria. Standing in their way is Goreville. Hear from the Raiders about their Supersectional match up thanks to McLeod Express. You can here the game Tuesday night on ESPNDecatur 1050AM and on the NowDecatur app starting at 6 pm.

Cost of Living in Macon County and Decatur Below National Average

Cost of Living in Macon County and Decatur Below National Average

March 6, 2020 – The Economic Development Corporation of Decatur and Macon County says the cost of living in Decatur is well below the National Average.  According to the Cost of Living Index (COLI) 2019 Annual Average Index release, Decatur sits at 87.8 of 100% Composite Index score compared to Chicago at 120%. The EDC says the report shows that the cost of living is very affordable compared to surrounding communities as well as to the national average. The recent COLI index reports that the average purchase price of a 2,400 sq. ft. home in Decatur is $278,000 compared to $517,000 in Chicago.