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Hi, it's Mayor John Hamilton, March 15th, giving the community an update, really focused on COVID today. So much good news continues in terms of overall caseloads, hospitalizations, and deaths, though our county has reported a slight rise in the caseloads per 100,000, just a little bit, enough to keep watching. We get good news from the federal government as well about the availability of vaccines, planning to have enough for every American adult to be vaccinated, available by the end of May and beginning May 1st, the idea that everyone will qualify for vaccines. It'll still take time to get everybody through the system, but that's all very good news. We continue to make progress locally with tens of thousands of vaccinations. Simon Scott Assembly Hall's going to be a site for vaccination within a couple of weeks, moving from the convention center. All that's good.

However, our CDC director, Rochelle Walensky, the National Center for Disease Control, has said, "We have to be humble with this virus." Meaning we are not out of the woods, and when we think we have it under control, we don't yet. There is still one American dying every minute from COVID-19. We have tens of thousands of cases a day, still at a high level in the country. And we have these new variants, which could cause a real eruption at any place, at any time. So the progress is good because of what we're doing. And I want to just stress over and over how important it is to keep doing what we're doing with the masking, the distancing, the good hygiene. If you're infectious, don't go anywhere, and just try not to share air with people, still for a few more weeks as the vaccines get spread further. I'll be getting mine on Wednesday. I'm looking forward to that first dose, and I know how important it is for that to be available for all of us.
    
Just so you know, we are offering city employees who get vaccinated a $100 paycheck supplement. It's coming through our wellness program with our healthcare provider. We're offering it to every city employee, full-time, temporary, others, to make sure everybody knows this is important. This keeps you healthy, keeps your fellow workers healthy, and keeps our community healthy. So I'm pleased we're able to offer that $100 supplement. I hope more employers will do that to encourage all of us to get vaccinated when it's our turn.
    
So good news continues, but we have to be humble. We have to be careful. We have to continue what we're doing. Our community's doing that well, thank you for that, and let's keep at it. I'll keep reporting on where we are, including every Friday afternoon and with these video messages on Mondays. So keep at it, and we do see light at the end of the tunnel. I like the idea that President Biden said of July 4th, having a goal of being able to have some small gatherings with loved ones, friends who've been vaccinated. That's a great goal, so let's get it done. Thanks a lot.
 

 

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