Social gatherings, sporting events and schools are shutting down across the country. This is not due to some mass hysteria over COVID-19 (Coronavirus) but rather a proactive measure being undertaken to limit exposure amongst people under a policy of “social distancing.”  Social Distancing plays a key role to limit the impact on the healthcare system that people will rely on to get healthier.  If we all hypothetically get sick at the same time (because we are in constant contact with each other), we will overload the health care system, as depicted by the red curve in the graphic below.  As we overload the healthcare system, the supply of medical supplies and equipment will get used up, thus forcing healthcare workers to triage and make hard choices in determining who gets adequate treatment or not.  The adverse impact of overloading the healthcare system thus has a primary impact on the death rate.  South Korea, for example, has 2.5 million people and went into lockdown when 204 people had been diagnosed and one had died. That country's death rate is at 0.8% despite more than 7,800 cases. Contrast South Korea with Italy that was late to the game in implementing social distancing procedures until it had more than 5,800 COVID-19 patients. There are now almost 12,500 affected and 827 deaths – a death rate of 6.6%.

With social distancing practices in place, the healthcare system has a fighting chance to manage the incoming COVID-19 patients and provide adequate treatment (the green curve below).   With that in mind, the City of Pekin, as well as other institutions, businesses and individuals, need to do their part to help support the healthcare system and "flatten the curve." 
 
Corona virus Curves
 
The City of Pekin will be closing access of City Hall and other city facilities to the general public starting Monday, March 16, 2020.  While physical access to City facilities are closed to the general public, City services are still available and accessible. Payment of utility billing, for example, can be done via mail, online, or via a drop box at 500 Elizabeth Street. Citizens can also directly contact city departments to receive services, such as licenses or permits. Check out this link for city service contacts
 
Employers should: 
  • Actively encourage sick employees to stay home;
  • Separate sick employees;
  • Emphasize staying home when sick, respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene by all employees;
  • Perform routine environmental cleaning:
  • Advise employees before traveling to take certain steps:
  • Have employees notify their supervisor if they have a sick family member;
  • If an employee is confirmed to have COVID-19, employers should inform fellow employees of their possible exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace but maintain confidentiality as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). .
Individuals should:
  • Staying home from work, school, and all activities when sick with COVID-19 symptoms, which may include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing; and
  • Keeping away from others who are sick; and
  • Limiting close contact with others as much as possible (about 6 feet).
The City of Pekin will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation as it develops and will implement actions recommended by the Centers for Disease Control CDC and Illinois Department of Public Health to help minimize exposure in the workplace. The City will also be issuing any further information and updates to the public via its website, social media platforms on Facebook and Twitter, as well as, notifications through Nixle (www.nixle.com).   Additional information on COVID-19 can be found through the Centers for Disease Control website at:  https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.