As COVID-19 surges, Decatur is ready to enforce indoor mask mandate
Beginning Monday, individuals are required to wear facial coverings in indoor public places regardless of vaccination status. The City of Decatur has three local laws that apply and will be enforced. City Code Chapters 50 and 52 apply to licensees including entities that sell alcoholic liquor, while Chapter 73 applies to individuals. Individuals should contact City Manager Wrighton (217-424-2801, firstname.lastname@example.org) to report entities violating the city’s COVID-19 safety laws. Governor Pritzker’s Executive Order issuing the mandate and specific requirements can be found at the following link: file.cfm (iml.org).
Sadly, Decatur and Macon County have the lowest vaccination rate and highest per capita case rate and death rate of any central Illinois county with a mid-sized city, and COVID-19 metrics have worsened substantially in recent weeks. In fact, ICU bed availability for the weeks ending August 14 and 21 were at the lowest level in Macon County since the start of the pandemic.
COVID-19 METRICS ARE DETERIORATING
For the third straight week, the Illinois Department of Public Health has placed Macon County at a warning level for increased COVID-19 risk. Metrics have deteriorated considerably in the last week (week ending August 14 vs. August 21), with the number in home isolation increasing from 841 to 1,106, case rate increasing from 287 to 470 per 100k, and test positivity increasing from 8.5% to 11%. The last time the COVID-19 metrics were this poor was late November 2020.
DELTA VARIANT IS THE ONLY VARIANT DETECTED SINCE LATE JULY
Periodically, the Macon County Health Department releases data on the specific variants of COVID-19 (e.g., UK, Brazil/Gamma, Delta) that have been detected in a small subset of cases. Since at least July 30, the only variant detected has been the Delta variant. On July 30, there were 251 cases where variants were identified with 143 UK, 87 Brazil/Gamma, 10 Delta, and 11 other. On August 28, there were 289 cases where variants were identified with 143 UK, 87 Gamma/Brazil, 48 Delta, and 11 other. The low vaccination rate in Macon County, combined with the prominence of the more infectious Delta variant, may be the key drivers in this otherwise preventable fourth surge of COVID-19 Decatur citizens are experiencing.
SPECIAL COUNCIL MEETING TO INTERVIEW CITY COUNCIL CANDIDATES TO TAKE PLACE
A special city council will take place on Monday, August 30 at 5:30 PM in the Decatur Civic Center’s second floor theater. After public comments, the council will go into Closed Executive Session to interview finalists for the vacant city council position. After the interviews, the council will return to open session and may approve a resolution naming our next city council member. We have an excellent group of finalists, and I look forward to getting to know more about them during the interview process.
PLEASE EXPRESS YOUR VIEWS AT THE NEXT CITY COUNCIL MEETING
Meetings take place in the theater located on the second floor of the Decatur Civic Center (1 Gary K. Anderson Place). Free parking is available in the lot immediately south of the entrance. Citizens are encouraged to attend meetings and express their views. Citizens are allotted 3 minutes per person near the beginning of each city council meeting. In addition, citizens can provide comments regarding one regular agenda item per meeting for up to three minutes provided they notify the city in advance (and prior to the start of the meeting). You can request to speak on a particular agenda item at a council meeting by filling out an on-line form at: https://www.decaturil.gov/mayor-and-council/advance-request-to-speak-at-council-meeting/.
CITIZENS ARE ENCOURAGED TO PROVIDE FEEDBACK TO CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS
If you would like to discuss city issues with a council member, phone numbers and email addresses for each council member can be found at the following link: https://www.decaturil.gov/mayor-and-council/council/.
AGENDAS FOR CITY COUNCIL MEETINGS ARE AVAILABLE ONLINE
An agenda and information about each agenda item for each city council meeting can be found at: https://www.decaturil.gov/mayor-and-council/council-meetings/.