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Page last updated on September 7, 2021 at 1:05 pm

Hi, this is Bloomington Mayor, John Hamilton. It's Monday, December 7th. Wanted to just give the public an update, as I usually do on Mondays, about what's going on in the city with the pandemic-related issues. These are hard times. We continue to see a rise. Of course, I'm sure you read about that nationally, setting records in terms of cases, in terms of deaths daily, in terms of hospitalization rates. We are going the wrong direction, that's true in the state as well, continuing to see unprecedented hospitalizations, deaths, cases, and even locally we are continuing to see a rise in the spread of COVID-19.

We are doing better than the state a bit locally, we are continuing to have tighter restrictions and that's been important, but we are seeing community spread. Our hospitals are as full as they've ever been. We now have an average of one death per day in our county, which has not been true for five months. We had that early in the spring, in May, but haven't had that until just late November. We are now averaging one death per day.

 It just reminds us, I'll talk about vaccines in a minute, but for the next two, three, four months, it's going to be critically important to keep wearing the masks. You need to have those on when you're outside your house if you're near anybody else unless you're on your own, separated, and outdoors, you really should have a mask. You need to keep the six feet physical distance between you and others who are not your immediate household co-residents and you need to keep washing your hands. Those are really important. And of course, if you feel sick, please get checked out. Don't go to work. Continuing to do that, it'll be critically important over the next several months. We are not out of the woods, community spread is increasing, we're seeing it in our workplace, we're seeing it in schools, we're seeing it in the data. So please stay focused.

Now the good news is vaccines actually should probably arrive in our community within a week or so, that does depend upon national approvals. Those all look likely. But assuming we get those national FDA approvals, we will begin to have vaccinations happening in our community in mid-December. That will, of course, be in limited numbers, it will be focused on healthcare workers, long-term care residents, and others. It will migrate out to other essential workers, people who need this vaccine the most. It will take several months to reach the wider public, and more general vaccinations, are incredibly important. When you do get the opportunity to take one, please do so unless your own health is contraindicated, but it's incredibly important for all of us. It is a light at the end of the tunnel, it is going to help 2021 really be a different year we hope and trust, but it's going to take months to get there. And these are going to be very difficult months.

We will continue to collaborate locally to look at whether we need to change protocols. We review that constantly, as many other organizations do, with the Health Department, with our fellow governmental entities, IU and others, we will continue to look at what we need to do and do what's needed to protect public health. In the meantime, keep wearing those masks. I'll demonstrate again how important it is. Wear the masks, six-foot distance, hand wash, protect yourselves. Don't go to gatherings of people if you don't need to be there.

Just please try to restrict the chance. This virus is spreading, often by people who don't even know they're sick, with no ill intentions, it's just going to take personal responsibility as well as the kind of restrictions that we're putting in place across our jurisdiction. So hang in there, please keep taking care of each other in our community and I'll keep you updated on things as we go forward. Be careful. Thanks so much.