Illinois mayors unite to issue open letters urging people to take COVID serious

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MADISON COUNTY, Ill. – A group of Illinois mayors near St. Louis has issued an open letter urging people to stand together to bend the Coronavirus curve as Madison County, Ill. shatters its record for daily new cases this week.

The 633 cases reported Monday were about five times higher than average for Nov. and the first time, the county has had more than 200 new cases reported in a single day.

A free pop-up Covid testing site Tuesday afternoon and evening in Granite City drew a line more than 100 cars deep through the three hours the site was open.

“People had better take (the virus) serious,” Ken Barks of Granite City said.

The number of new cases in Madison County ranged from 124 to 181 last week before topping 600 on Monday.

“It’s better to be safe than sorry, so wear your mask,” Roxanne Kelley of Granite City said.

The county’s pandemic total surged past 10,000 and Granite City had the largest number of daily new cases in the county, Monday, with 89.

The county’s positivity rate of 14.4 percent is more than double the rate required by the governor to lift COVID restrictions.

The Southwestern Illinois Council of Mayors which includes Madison County mayors in Granite City, Edwardsville, Collinsville, and Alton, issued the following ‘open letter’:

“As we enter the holiday season, we naturally look forward to sharing time with family and friends, but in 2020, our traditions are being challenged like never before. In the face of a real threat to our health and safety, the choices we face are difficult.

Masks can seem like a nuisance, but the need to wear them far outweighs any inconvenience if we are to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Going without them is not a credible political statement. It disregards the safety of others.

Respect for the welfare of ourselves and others is a responsibility we must all commit to if we are to contain the spread of this deadly pandemic.

Each of us is called upon to lead by example, to share responsibility, and to show concern for the well-being of our fellow humans.

Practicing social distancing and exercising other precautions are the only way to limit the spread of this virus. Our hospitals are already overwhelmed. Our businesses need to reopen and operate fully in order to support the many families that rely on them for their livelihood.

A united effort will ultimately get us through this crisis. In order to succeed, we will be required to continue making sacrifices – after the many sacrifices we have already endured.

But we can do it, and hope is on the horizon with promising vaccines. By working together, we can fight back against this pandemic and win.

Towards that goal, we ask our fellow citizens to observe safe practices and to each do their individual parts.”

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