Coronavirus warning for nearby counties; Discussing senior centers

Nearby counties at coronavirus warning level

Four Illinois counties, including two which border the 106th district, were recently placed on a coronavirus warning level by the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH). LaSalle and Peoria counties joined Adams and Randolph as the four counties which have two or more risk indicators showing a coronavirus increase in the county.

The increase in LaSalle County was attributed to “large family and social gatherings, increase in cases among people younger than 29 years, younger people visiting bars and attending larger social events, and inconsistencies with masking requirements. In Peoria County IDPH cited, “increases in cases among people younger than 29 years, large gatherings including 4th of July parties, and people traveling to Florida, Iowa, Texas and Wisconsin.”

Among the indicators which can trigger a warning to a county are a 20% increase in the number of deaths in the county for two consecutive weeks, an increase in the 7-day test positivity rate above 8%, if fewer than 20% of the region’s intensive care unit (ICU) beds are available, and other factors. You can find a map showing each Illinois county’s status by clicking here.

Discussing senior living facilities’ response to the pandemic

Join me at 5 p.m. on Thursday for a discussion of the ways local senior living facilities have responded to the coronavirus pandemic. Seniors were among the hardest hit during the early months of the outbreak. Malerie Orsowy of Accolate Health Care in Pontiac, Amanda Gronsky of Heritage Health Therapy and Senior Care in Gibson City and Terika Weiner of Heritage Woods in Watseka will be my guests for a Facebook live discussion. Visit my Facebook page for more information.

Flood relief effort in Roanoke

Earlier this month the village of Roanoke was hit by heavy rainfall which led to severe flooding in parts of town. More than 70 homes were damaged, as well as the village hall and the public works facility. I visited Roanoke last week along with Representative Ryan Spain to meet with village officials, Woodford County emergency responders and representatives of the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) to discuss the cleanup and the ongoing response.

For the past couple of years I have been working on the issue of flood prevention and mitigation in the many areas of our district which are prone to flooding after heavy or prolonged rain. This is an ongoing, long-term effort which requires us all to work together. I appreciate the leadership and the teamwork of the officials in Roanoke and Woodford County as they get the community back on its feet.

New procedures for House committees

The first step forward for any piece of legislation is its committee hearing. This is the opportunity for members of the House to review the legislation and ask questions of its sponsor. Oftentimes these committee hearings draw members of the public who want to listen in on the discussion and sometimes even offer testimony.

In this year of coronavirus, these committee procedures have been adjusted in order to still ensure public participation while keeping people safe. Under a new rule adopted by the House in its May session, members of the public are encouraged to utilize electronic communication or written testimony in order to make their views on legislation. The written testimony will then become part of the permanent record of the committee and the legislative record of the bill.

Committee rooms in the Capitol Complex in Springfield will see some restrictions on attendance when we re-convene. Face-masked social distancing will be a priority, and work is being done in the two main committee hearing rooms to equip them with new audio-visual equipment so that these hearings can be streamed online for members and the public.

Of course, I still encourage anyone in our district who has thoughts or questions about legislation to get in touch with me.

Many resources available for Illinoisans in need during the pandemic

My office has compiled a list of resources for those who need help due to the pandemic and the slowdown in the economy. The list includes health care resources, assistance to farmers and small businesses, information about schools and child care, resources for those who are unemployed, and more. To check out the list, please click here.

More news from around the state

The latest news from the Department of Public Health

New grants for child care providers available

DCFS, Fire Marshal, urge Illinoisans to properly supervise children during water activities

For those returning to Central Illinois schools, questions and concerns persist

For continually updated news from state agencies, visit: coronavirus.illinois.gov or my website at repbennett.com and click on COVID-19 Info. Persons with coronavirus questions or concerns should call the statewide toll-free coronavirus hotline at 1-800-889-3931. You can also submit questions via e-mail at dph.sick@illinois.gov.

My district offices remain closed to in-person visits, but are still accessible by phone at (815) 432-0106 (Watseka) and (815) 844-9179 (Pontiac).