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Page last updated on January 4, 2022 at 3:56 pm

Hello, it's Mayor John Hamilton. Happy New Year–It's January 4th, 2022. We're looking forward to a bright new year. It is sunny today and lots of plans, I know, underway for the coming year, so thanks for joining again. I just want to give a quick pandemic update. We'll keep doing this for at least the time being. As you no doubt know, Omicron is coming ablaze into Indiana and our community, our country, the world. This new variant has exploded in numbers. Our county numbers are up in the mid-200s now, cases per 100,000 for the week. That used to be as low as 50 or 60 several weeks ago, and has been climbing, but that was a big jump in the last week. Omicron clearly is here, and it's much more transmissible and we're seeing a lot more cases.

Hospitalizations are also up. This is a very concerning time. Those of us who are vaccinated and boosted are in better shape. And I encourage all of you to get vaccinated and boosted. It offers serious help against the Omicron infection, as well as those variants still around, Delta and others. But it takes action. Continuing to mask and distance is key, and not sharing air with those who may transmit this disease is very important. Again, it’s to protect our health care workers and the health care system from getting overwhelmed.

It's shocking that we're here a year later after the vaccines became available, but here we are. So, I surely hope that more of you will recognize the value of the vaccines. Hundreds of millions of people around the world have taken them. They're very safe. They're very effective. They are how we get out of this. So we're starting 2022 with a big boost in the wrong direction from Omicron, both in case numbers, hospitalizations. We're worried about the impact on the young. Our school systems are working heroically to keep open in the midst of all this. And our economy, we're continuing to work strongly to keep it open, but it all depends upon us doing the right thing. So we still have our mask order in place. The only county in Indiana that does that, we're proud of that. We think it has helped us weather this storm better and we'll continue to urge you to wear your masks whenever you're close to folks indoors, as well as to get that booster and the vaccines. Please get tested if you have symptoms.

So, we're going to be watching this week to week. This may happen quickly, it is fast arriving. We hope it may be a steep up and a steep down in terms of the numbers, but we don't know that yet. And we're going to be very vigilant. So stay safe, protect each other by avoiding big meetings or sharing air with others. Thank you for your attention to that. And again, we give thanks to all those who help keep our economy going and keep our health care system working, including all my fellow city employees. Thanks for all that you do. And we'll keep in touch.