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Page last updated on September 6, 2021 at 4:05 pm

Hello, it's Mayor John Hamilton. It's Monday, November 23rd. Let me express a happy Thanksgiving week to all in Bloomington and around, and hope you have a good holiday. I want to give an update on COVID, and it is connected to Thanksgiving because the virus continues to expand significantly in our state, in our county, in our community, as well as the country. It is everywhere and it is growing significantly. It's really spreading. This week when we often gather with our families for Thanksgiving, it's a really important week to choose to be safe. And that basically means you should choose to be with your immediate family, those who you live within a household, and not to do extended gatherings. That's really hard. I know we love Thanksgiving, but I know in my household, we're going to be celebrating just in our household so that we can be ready for next year.

Look, the cases are going up dramatically in our state. I've shared the numbers before. They continue to rise in our county. We've had several deaths just last week in our county and the case numbers, daily case numbers are rising significantly. So the virus is here. Look, I've had personal experience with this virus. I've had the person that I love the most in the world get sick in March and April. I had to watch her go to the hospital. Couldn't be with her in the hospital for 11 days. It's excruciating to know what she was going through and it was very tough for her. It has taken people in my family. Thankfully, my wife survived and is back and well, but it's a reminder every day of how serious this disease is.

We know that most of the transmissions are happening in small social gatherings, often with families. We know from the CDC this week, that half of the transmissions happen between people who don't know they're sick, who have no symptoms, and it's transmitted from one to the next. So look, it's the right thing to do just to protect each other and to protect your loved ones. Do not get together, particularly, don't get together indoors. Don't spend a lot of time together. Don't be unmasked if you do get together. But really the thing you should do is not get together in-person for Thanksgiving beyond those of your immediate family.

We have a few months ahead of us of really tough sledding. We will get a vaccine. That seems clear. It will come, but it's going to be a few months, and the disease is really exploding in the meantime. So these next three or four months are really important to keep protecting each other. It is a serious disease if it hits your family. It can kill and it can debilitate and it's very painful. So I just would urge everybody while being thankful this week for what we have and the blessings that we have, to be careful with each other to make sure that there are those blessings that can be shared for longer and among all of us.

It is a great holiday to give thanks, and I urge you to do so, but I urge you to do so with your immediate family this year, as we will be doing. And all good luck to everybody. Thank you for continuing to protect each other with masking, physical distancing, good hygiene, staying away when sick, but remember even when you don't feel sick, you can be transmitting the virus. So thanks to all. Stay safe and have a good Thanksgiving.