Coronavirus Blog 3/19/20: Bloomington, Normal Councils Plan Meetings On Emergency Measures | WGLT

Coronavirus Blog 3/19/20: Bloomington, Normal Councils Plan Meetings On Emergency Measures

Mar 19, 2020

The coronavirus story is developing quickly in Illinois. Here are updates from WGLT's newsroom and our partners at Illinois Public Radio, NPR, and The Associated Press.

You can also see (or add to) our list of cancellations, closures, and rescheduled events. Find all of our coverage at WGLT.org/Coronavirus.

BLOOMINGTON  AND NORMAL READY TO ISSUE EMERGENCY ORDINANCE BEGINNING MARCH 23
4:30 p.m. Thursday, March 19 

The City of Bloomington plans a local emergency ordinance for Monday's council meeting.

City Manager Tim Gleason says that creates a moratorium on utility shutoffs, growth in interest, and penalties for city violations. It also lets restaurants and taverns offer curbside pickup of liquor. 

The Town of Normal has scheduled a special council meeting for 5 p.m. Monday to consider a similar ordinance.

-- Charlie Schlenker | WGLT

VISIONPOINT EYE CENTER CHANGES
4:15 p.m. Thursday, March 19

VisionPoint Eye Center plans to keep necessary services available to patients. 

Appointments scheduled now through March 30 will be rescheduled. The Eyewear boutique will remain closed through March 31.

For any orders, questions, refills, pickup or emergencies, patients are instructed call (309) 662-7700 or visit the website for additional information.

-- Jolie Sherman | WGLT

ALL CEFCU LOBBIES CLOSED BEGINNING FRIDAY
3:45 p.m. Thursday, March 19

CEFCU is temporarily closing the lobbies of all Illinois Member Centers until further notice.

Driveups will be available during normal business, and ATMS are accessible 24/7. However, to limit in-person transactions, lobby access is available upon appointment.

Additionally, the Downtown Peoria Member Center will NOT be open for appointments in order to transfer staff to other locations.

-- Jolie Sherman | WGLT

CONNECT TRANSIT TEMPORARILY REDUCING SERVICE STARTING MARCH 23
3:30 p.m. Thursday, March 19

Some Connect Transit routes will not run at peak service.

“This is an unprecedented situation. The reduction in service will allow us to match service with demand. I encourage customers to only use Connect for necessary travel,” said Connect Transit General Manager Isaac Thorne.

Reduced routes include the Blue, Purple, Aqua, Orange, and Silver. Green will only run a 30-minute service. Lime Express will NOT run.

-- Jolie Sherman | WGLT

BLOOMINGTON LIBRARY CLOSED THROUGH MARCH 29, CURBSIDE PICKUP UPDATE
3:05 p.m. Thursday, March 19

Bloomington Public Library has updated its COVID-19 plans. BPL will remain closed through March 29, and curbside pickup will be available until Friday, March 20.

Items must be put on hold in advanced. Once you receive a notification that your hold is available, you may take part in the curbside pickup.

Pickup hours are offered Monday through Thursday: 9 a.m. - 7 p.m. and Fri: 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. Visit bit.ly/BPL31620 for more details. 

-- Jolie Sherman | WGLT

ANALYSIS: MODERATE COVID-19 SPIKE COULD STRAIN B-N HOSPITALS
2:45 p.m. Thursday, March 19

A new analysis shows how easily Bloomington-Normal’s hospitals could become strapped for space even if a moderate-case COVID-19 scenario comes to pass.

In the Harvard Global Health Institute’s moderate scenario, 40% of the adult population will contract the disease over the course of a year. Many have mild or no symptoms and will not have their diagnoses confirmed by tests. Slightly more than a fifth of all cases will require hospitalization. (That’s roughly the average number of patients requiring hospitalization in other countries.)

If that happens, Bloomington-Normal would be among the regions that would need to expand hospital-bed capacity, according to the Harvard data and analysis by ProPublica. As of 2018, the Bloomington hospital referral region had 390 total hospital beds, of which about 49% were occupied, potentially leaving only 200 beds open for additional patients, ProPublica reported.

Read the full story.

-- Ryan Denham | WGLT

GROUP PROMOTES SAFE GUN STORAGE WITH KIDS HOME

1:40 p.m. Thursday, March 19

A group that advocates against gun violence says responsible gun storage is more important than ever because of the coronavirus.

Kids are spending more and more time at home with schools closed through March 30.

Sheri Strohl of Heyworth is the Be SMART lead for McLean County Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. Be SMART is a nonpartisan program that promotes responsible gun storage to adults with the goal of eliminating unintentional shootings by children.

"Responsible gun storage means firearms are stored locked and unloaded separately from ammunition," Strohl said. "Hiding a firearm is not responsible storage. So many people have had to find alternate child care arrangements as we cope with school closings. Either children are at their own homes more than normal or someone else’s. Let’s remind gun owners to remember the importance of not allowing children unsupervised access to loaded firearms. It is actually the law in Illinois."

— Ryan Denham | WGLT