Mayor Hal Patton has issued a local state of emergency proclamation for the city of Edwardsville.
Patton said during the Nov. 17 city council meeting that the proclamation was in response to increasing positivity rates for COVID tests in the city and surrounding region, and fewer hospital beds available for patients.
“Hospitalizations are at an all-time high, and bed availability is critically low. As of noon today, 205 patients with either confirmed or suspected COVID-19 infection are hospitalized in Region 4. 29 of them are in ICU, and 23 of those are on ventilators. Seven have passed away since yesterday,” Patton said. “The four hospitals closest to Edwardsville have 59 COVID patients as of this afternoon, and two of those hospitals have no ICU beds available. Nurses are being transferred from surgery and other departments to care for the critically ill patients.”
Patton listed several mandates that would be put into effect as part of the order. These mandates include the following:
Everyone must wear masks.
Businesses must provide hand sanitation at every entrance.
All businesses are limited to 25 percent occupancy, including fitness centers, retail, offices and convenience stores.
Grocery stores and pharmacies are limited to 50 percent of normal occupancy.
All currently issued orders by the state of Illinois are still in effect, and many of these rules are part of the new state guidelines. Patton specifically cited the order restricting any indoor dining at restaurants. He also said any violations of these mandates may result in the city issuing tickets or a hearing at the City Municipal Court.
Patton said there are exceptions to the mask mandate, such as children under two years old, people with medical conditions or a disability that prevents them from wearing a face covering, people who are hearing impaired, or those communicating with someone hearing impaired, where the ability to see the mouth is necessary for communication. Masks are not necessary while maintaining social distancing, or when eating or drinking.
Patton said this was a difficult decision to make, but it was ultimately a very important one for the future of Edwardsville.
“In discussions with [the aldermen] earlier today, basically we’re asking everybody to raise their game,” Patton said. “We got through the summer, and I think some complacency occurred and some larger group gatherings have occurred, and we are now facing a pretty rapid increase in spread. So I’d like to ask everyone to do their part to help get this under control, and to allow our healthcare providers to provide adequate care in a setting that is not chaotic and filled with excessive challenge.”
For more information, visit the city of Edwardsville’s website.