Statewide and local cases, hospitalizations continue to rise
By Angela Simmons, Weekly Editor
As statewide and St. Clair County cases of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continue to rise, Shiloh Mayor Jim vernier visited with members of the St. Clair County Emergency Management Agency to share how the Village is handling the virus.
When asked by St. Clair County Board Chairman Mark Kern about how things are running, and the differences in the Village from two months ago to now, Vernier said “Obviously, our world has turned upside down just like everyone else’s has, but we’re doing our best to continue to move forward, and meet our residents’ needs. Our municipal building is staffed again.”
Vernier said that occupancy permits are being issued with home inspections are happening for unoccupied homes, or temporary permits being issued for occupied homes with inspection to occur at a later date.
He urged residents to call Village Hall before coming to the building, as only staff members are allowed inside. There are six different entrances into the building and each staff member has their own office to allow for maximum social distancing. “Everyone feels safe there,” he said.
“Our public works department has continued to function with no layoffs- everyone has been working. They’re all practicing social distancing. Fortunately, we have enough vehicles that they all ride in their own vehicles. Our street department is moving forward with projects,” said Mayor Vernier.
He continued “Our police department continues to operate of course. No one is allowed in the building. Non-emergency calls they prefer to handle over the phone. Emergency calls- they will respond. If it’s a medical issue, they will not get out of their vehicles until emergency services gets there. They’re getting along. I just spoke with Chief (Rich Wittenauer) earlier and we’re in great shape with PPE for the police department.”
He added that the parks department is continuing to function, as the parks are still open with playgrounds and restrooms closed. “Our walking trails are being heavily used. We had problems early on with kids getting together to play basketball, so we took the hoops down, then they were playing volleyball so we took the nets down, but we haven’t really had any other problems. I do live near our dog park, which is heavily used, and I wish people would social distance more there.”
Vernier said that after the shutdown first occurred, one Shiloh Police Department officer had a slight fever, and that other officers responding to a domestic dispute began to show symptoms, but all officers were tested and the test results were negative.
To help the mental health of the officers and make them feel reassured, the Village had Service Master come out to disinfect the police station on Lebanon Road and all of the police vehicles. “We were pretty confident the tests would come back negative, but you never know,” he said.
Vernier said that home sales are still occurring in the Village, and commercial construction is still ongoing.
When Kern mentioned the 2020 Census, Vernier said “Please, ladies and gentlemen, whether you live in Shiloh or in another community, please fill out that census information. A lot of you have time to do it because you’re at home, please do so. I think my residents, our percentage is that 65 percent of our residents have completed it, which is five percent higher than the average, but please do fill that out. You may think its an aggravation or a government intrusion, but it’s how every community gets federal dollars assigned to them, by population. Please do the census, and please do so sooner rather than later.”
Mayor Vernier also asked residents to support local businesses and restaurants as much as possible to ensure that their doors can remain open and their staff can continue to remain employed.
St. Clair County COVID-19 Numbers
There have now been 30 deaths in St. Clair County. The three most recent deaths include a male in his 80s with underlying health conditions, and two women in their 70s with unknown health conditions.
The county has 454 COVID positive residents, with another 1,475 negative tests and 59 tests pending result.
Long Term Care Facilities in Outbreak status (statistics per St. Clair County Health Department):
BRIA of Belleville- 12 positive cases and 2 deaths
Colonnade of O’Fallon- 2 positive cases and 0 deaths
Four Fountains in Belleville- 49 positive cases and 6 deaths
Memorial Care Center in Belleville- 43 positives and 5 deaths
St. Paul’s home in Belleville- 5 cases and 0 deaths
Lebanon Care Center in Lebanon- 14 positive cases and 1 death
The numbers we normally report for long term care centers have increased. I would just like to make you aware that those deaths have been already counted in the totals and we are now attributing them to the home they resided in before they went into the hospital, so just keep that in mind. I know when we’re reporting, it seems like a large jump. Those deaths have already been reported, and again are just being attributed to the facility they reside in,” said Samantha Bierman, St. Clair County Health Department Emergency Response Coordinator.
Zip Codes per IDPH:
62269- 40 cases
62254- 12 cases
62226- 65 cases
62221- 35 cases
62208- 32 cases
Memorial Hospital in Belleville has 20 COVID-19 positive patients and 10 PUI (patients under investigation). They have discharged four medically well COVID positive patients in the past 24 hours.
HSHS St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in O’Fallon has 20 COVID positive patients and three PUI
Touchette Regional Hospital has one COVID positive patient and one PUI
“Hospitalizations are up, and as we talk about getting businesses open and starting to get back to our normal lives, all the experts are telling us that we have to have 14 days of a decrease in hospitalizations. That’s a good metric to use, so as you see, today we went up by five, so we’re still at this peak level, we still have to remain vigilant, stay home, and maintain precautions,” said Kern. He continued that he hopes the county can avoid a second wave in the summer.
Kern and Bierman recommend keeping a log of people that you’ve been around, especially encounters within six feet that have lasted for 10 minutes or longer.
Illinois Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike reported 2,253 new cases of the virus and an additional 92 deaths in the past 24 hours for a state total of 50,355 cases and 2,215 deaths in 96 Illinois counties.
Within the past 24 hours, laboratories have processed 14,478 specimens for a total of 256,667.