For Decatur residents, the worst health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic may be ahead of us
Since the start of the pandemic, over 250 Macon County residents have died from COVID-19. The county’s per capita death rate and case rate is greater than any other central Illinois county with a mid-sized city, and the vaccination rate in Macon County is the lowest of any central Illinois county with a mid-sized city. Thus, Decatur citizens are more vulnerable to a deadly disease whose worst effects are now mostly preventable.
Currently, Decatur and its citizens are experiencing some of the worst COVID-19 health metrics since November 2020 when there was no vaccine available including high case rates and low availability of ICU beds. Furthermore, the Omicron variant of COVID-19 has not been detected in Macon County as of December 17, and this variant is considered more contagious than the Delta variant.
DECATUR AND MACON COUNTY RESIDENTS CAN DO BETTER IN PROTECTING THEMSELVES AND OTHERS
Decatur citizens should do what they can to protect their family, friends, and neighbors from COVID-19 including being fully vaccinated, getting boosted for extra protection, wearing face coverings while indoors, and practicing social distancing.
By law, individuals in Decatur are required to wear face coverings in indoor public places regardless of vaccination status. The City of Decatur has three local laws pertaining to COVID-19 safety that should be enforced. However, the reality in Decatur is that the number of entities violating our laws is widespread, and many people are working in unsafe conditions.
As of December 17, there were 2,407 Macon County residents that were in home isolation. Many of these individuals are not able to work from home and have jobs that do not provide sick leave. Furthermore, many individuals that contract COVID-19 may experience long-term illness that prevents them from working. This could further reduce the city’s already declining labor force and threaten long-term economic growth.
THANK YOU TO EVERYONE FOR ADOPTING COVID-19 SAFETY PRECAUTIONS
I understand there may be hesitancy and skepticism from our citizens given the numerous entities that are not implementing simple and effective safety precautions that save lives. With that said, I ask that citizens please take the steps necessary to protect yourself, your family, and your fellow citizens during the worst public health crisis of our lifetime. I thank the many entities that are following COVID-19 safety laws and taking precautions to keep themselves and others safe.