East St. Louis mayor recovers from COVID-19, urges community to take virus seriously

Coronavirus
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EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. – COVID-19 takes over the East St. Louis City Hall, infecting several people, including the mayor.

The virus has hit hard for a lot of people but it’s clear it never hits harder until you’re the one affected by it. East St. Louis Mayor Robert Eastern III found out firsthand.

“It’s horrible. I wouldn’t wish this on anybody,” Eastern said.

The mayor tested positive for the COVID-19 back on July 13. He said he didn’t feel many symptoms in the beginning – and then it hit.

“Tuesday I was ok, but Wednesday it hit me like a ton of bricks,” he said. “I had a real bad episode where I got real dizzy and light-headed and coughing up a storm and I passed out.”

Luckily, things are better. But unfortunately, the mayor wasn’t alone in his diagnosis.

Nine other city employees tested positive, leaving the mayor no choice but to shut city hall down for a deep cleaning.

The latest numbers from the East Side Health District show more than 1,100 people have tested positive and 36 people have died from the coronavirus in St. Clair County.

Those staggering and alarming numbers are why Mayor Eastern is pleading with his residents to take this seriously.

“This thing is a very serious virus and it’s real,” the mayor said.

Mandatory mask mandates have been starting to be enforced across the bi-state region.

Currently, East St. Louis does not have a mask mandate but the mayor says he, along with the city council, will start looking into it.

Until then, he’s hoping his mandate for businesses to close inside dining at 10 will help.

“Take a pause for the cause, as I should say. Do whatever you’re doing to keep yourself safe and your family,” Eastern said.

With the mayor’s diagnosis, it’s clear no one is immune to COVID-19, even those tasked with keeping the community safe.

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