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Forest Park officials addressed COVID-19 at the March 9 village council meeting.

In his report, Village Administrator Tim Gillian said he wanted to “let the residents know that the staff at village hall has been working hard to make sure we’re up to date on all that is the coronavirus.”

Mayor Rory Hoskins spoke about the issue in detail, stating that the village has been talking about the issue of coronavirus for the past several weeks.

“First and foremost,” said Hoskins, “staff have all been brought up to speed on safety precautions.” He added that the department heads “are in constant communications with state, federal and county authorities for the latest information on what we can do as a town with limited resources to slow the spread of this virus.”

Hoskins said the village is encouraging residents to do what they can online, such as purchasing automobile stickers or paying fees.

“If you don’t have to come into village hall, then don’t physically come into village hall,” said Hoskins. But he added that hand sanitizer is available in public spaces. And “staff is working overtime to clean vehicles and sanitize common spaces.”

Additionally, said Hoskins, the village is talking to and coordinating with the library, the park district, and District 91 to make sure everyone’s on the same page and protected.

Hoskins also mentioned that the village has mutual aid agreements with other police and fire departments in the event that Forest Park first responders are affected by coronavirus. In terms of other village staff, the ability to work from home to get things done remotely is a possibility should the need arise.

Hoskins mentioned the Howard Mohr Community Center is considering postponing senior events, but nothing official has been done yet.

Karen Dylewski, director of the community center, said that Tuesday morning Senior Club is cancelled until April 7, but at this point everything else is business as usual.

“We’re diligently cleaning everything,” said Dylewski. “We’re staying on top of it.”

The village has information on its website regarding community information about coronarivus and helpful tips for residents to decrease the chance of exposure to or spread of the virus.

A Capital News article on March 9 reported Gov. JB Pritzker has issued a state of emergency decree in response to the COVID-19 threat.

According to the article, the proclamation is “an operational procedure” allowing the federal government to reimburse costs related to the state’s response and making disaster relief funds available. It allows Illinois to station support teams of health officials and first responders as needed as well as receive additional support from the CDC and federal Emergency Management Agency.

Thirteen other states have enacted similar measures, including California, Washington, Oregon, Utah, Kentucky, New York, Florida and Maryland.

“I want to emphasize that this is a statewide response with robust preparations and deployment of resources in southern, central and northern Illinois,” Pritzker said during a news event in Chicago.

According to Capital News, as of Monday Illinois Department of Public Health Director Ngozi Ezike reported that there were 11 cases of COVID-19 in Illinois. But Ezike added that “it’s possible we will get more.” Nationally, there were 423 cases in 35 states, including the District of Columbia, as of Monday evening.

The Illinois Department of Public Health has a hotline at 1-800-889-3931 for questions about the virus or for reporting suspected cases. Its website has updated information at dph.illinois.gov/topics-services/diseases-and-conditions/diseases-a-z-list/coronavirus.