By CHRISTY JANKOWSKI
Currently as it stands, COVID is surging throughout Illinois. For the majority of the pandemic, the central rural portion of Illinois saw few cases, and zero deaths until recently. I spoke with local leaders: Mayors and School Board Superintendents in Cerro Gordo and Bement and this is what they had to say.
Cerro Gordo CUSD 100 Superintendent Brett Robinson – “We continue to closely monitor the data and maintain an open dialog with our county health department as new information becomes available. The safety and well-being of our students, staff and their families remains our highest priority. I also want to thank (and for the community to know) David Remmert and his DeWitt-Piatt Bi-County Health Department staff for providing their expert guidance, day or night, whenever we have needed it as the pandemic has continued to evolve.”
Bement CUSD 5 Superintendent Dr. Sheila Greenwood – “Wear your masks! Follow safety protocols so we can keep kids in school.”
Cerro Gordo Village President Linda Ash – “I would say Cerro Gordo residents need to keep practicing the use of face masks, sanitizer, and washing hands. And for pete’s sake, stay home and away from people who may infect you or who you may infect.”
Bement Village President Pat Tieman – “We need to take precautions. We can’t just give up living but we need to be responsible. The numbers are going up and we need to be diligent.”
Governor Pritzker addressed the concern during a press conference held on Thursday, November 12. “What will it take for it to make this real for you?” He warned of a possible stay at home order if numbers keep increasing. Hospitals in the local central Illinois area have reported increases.
On Friday, November 13 the State announced an additional 15,415 confirmed cases with 27 additional deaths.
As of November 11 the Dewitt-Piatt Health Department reports a total of 477 cases in Dewitt county and 443 in Piatt county with two additional deaths. This brings the death total to 8 for Dewitt and 5 for Piatt. It also states on their website, “Remember, cases are spiking locally, statewide, and nationwide. Please refrain from attending events/parties/gatherings. Please don’t host such gatherings. Wash your hands frequently, Watch your distance (6 feet or more), Wear a mask when in public. Protect vulnerable populations. Please test even when asymptomatic. We are experiencing the peak number of cases we’ve seen during this pandemic this week.”