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Page last updated on September 7, 2021 at 1:02 pm

Hello. It's Mayor John Hamilton. It's Monday, July 26th, 2021. Just a couple of quick updates before getting into COVID.

One, last week we swore in our largest ever and most diverse class of new firefighters in the 121-year history of our fire department. We want to welcome all of them and just remind the public how we appreciate your support for the continued investment in public safety.

Second, also, City Council, I appreciate their support for the first stage of the American Rescue Plan Act, the ARPA funds, which will be so important for our city. They took a vote last week to adopt a plan for the first $3.5 million of that $22 million. That and the rest of our budget in the next couple of months will be so important for setting the tone for our recovery and appreciate the steps forward in those important ways.

Now, I'm afraid I'm a Johnny-one-note on COVID. We continue to get negative news. It's distressing to have to report this far into the pandemic that we are seeing an uptick, a resurgence, but we are. The Delta variant is certainly part of that and the lack of vaccinations. That combination is really dangerous. The State of Indiana has seen about a threefold increase or more in daily case rates from under 200 to over 700 cases a day in the last month. We've also seen in our whole State a doubling of the positivity rate and the hospitalizations are now going up as well. Locally, we've had a doubling of the daily case rate. We're a little better than the state average, but it's still very concerning. The vaccine is what gets us out of this. Almost everyone in the hospital, almost everyone getting positive results are unvaccinated. The vaccines are safe. They're effective. It's how we get out of this. It's so frustrating.

Please, if you're not vaccinated, talk to somebody who is. Talk to a healthcare provider. Recognize that if you're not vaccinated, you are at risk of going into the hospital or even dying of this disease still, whereas if you're vaccinated, those are extremely unlikely to happen, and we will be able to return to normal. Schools are struggling to figure out how to do this.

We're continuing to work. We've got nearly 60% of the city workforce vaccinated. We're hoping to get that higher. Please, it's free, it's safe, it's effective. It's how you protect your family, yourself, and your community. I'm just going to keep asking you, thanking all of you who've been vaccinated and encouraging those of you who are not to realize that it is really the right direction.

Talk to people who you care about, see what they think, and try to get good science-based information on the importance of the vaccine. We'll keep you posted. That's the update for this week. I hope you all have a good week.