Coronavirus Blog 3/21/20: Mental Health Help Available For Frontline Workers | WGLT

Coronavirus Blog 3/21/20: Mental Health Help Available For Frontline Workers

Mar 21, 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.

COMLARA PARK TO OPEN MONDAY - WITH QUALIFICATIONS
4:50 p.m. Saturday, March 21

McLean County Government said it might do people some good to get out and about if you keep your distance from others. Comlara Park trails and boat ramp near Hudson will be open starting Monday.

State parks and playgrounds closed as part of Gov. JB Pritzker’s shutdown order. But in a news release McLean County Administrator Camille Rodriguez said the scenic hiking, biking and walking trails at Comlara Park and Evergreen Lake can provide a respite to shelter in place requirements if people avoid getting too close to each other.

The campground, office, and other facilities will stay closed during the pandemic protective order period.

— Charlie Schlenker | WGLT

NO VISITORS ALLOWED AT OSF ST JOSEPH MEDICAL CENTER
3:53 p.m. Saturday, March 21

OSF HealthCare St. Joseph Medical Center in Bloomington is implementing a strict No Visitor policy in response to the Governor’s directive to shelter in place. There are a few exceptions. Children can have one visitor. Childbirth can have one visitor. And there can be exceptions for the dying.

— Charlie Schlenker | WGLT

KROGER GIVES EMPLOYEE BONUSES 
2:15 p.m. Saturday, March 21

Kroger announced it is paying one-time bonuses for its employeees. Full-time employees hired on or before March 1 will get $300, while part-time workers will get $150. 

"The true heroes in this story are our associates and we want to provide them with the additional resources and support to help them continue their remarkable effort," Chairman and CEO Rodney McMullen said in a news release. 

Kroger is one of several grocery store chains that has announced it is hiring to help keep up with demand. 

-- Eric Stock | WGLT 

YMCA HOSTS BLOOD DRIVE 
2:10 p.m. Saturday, March 21

The Bloomington-Normal YMCA has announced it is hosting a blood drive from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday, March 23 to offset the extreme blood shortages prompted by many bood drives being canceled.

The blood drive will be done by appointment only at the YMCA, 6-2 S. Main St., Bloomington. Appointments must be reserved as www.redcrossblood.org. 

"This is one small tangible way we can live into ouy YMCA focus area of social responsibility during this global crisis," director of youth development Sarah Tunall said. 

-- Eric Stock | WGLT 

B-N CHESS CLUB RALLIES FOR ONLINE PLAY
10:25 a.m. Saturday, March 21

The Bloomington-Normal Chess Club, formerly Twin City Chess Club, is responding to Governor Pritzker’s shelter-in-place order by linking up McLean county chess players for online play.

During this time club members are also willing to teach people who do not know the rules how to play by online sessions.

For more information, please visit the Bloomington-Normal Chess Club’s website or contact Darren Erickson via email.

— Ryan Denham | WGLT

MENTAL HEALTH HELP AVAILABLE FOR FIRST RESPONDERS
9 a.m. Saturday, March 21

The McLean County Triage Center is launching new supportive mental health strategies to help ease the immense burden of first responders during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Starting Monday,  the McLean County Triage Center will begin providing temporary supportive mental health services to first responders who may be experiencing psychological fatigue, stress, or anxiety.

First responders, emergency room doctors and nurses, and other frontline workers can make a videoconference appointment via phone (309-434-6567) or email.

“It is the hope of the Triage Center to maintain existing services in a safe and responsible way, but to bolster our commitment to McLean County residents during a time when supportive services are most needed,” said McLean County Behavioral Health Coordinating Council Supervisor Trisha Malott.

Walk-in availability for the general public will be maintained Monday through Friday, from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

— Ryan Denham | WGLT

AUTHORITIES ON LOOKOUT FOR COVID-19 FRAUD
8 a.m. Saturday, March 21

Federal law enforcement officials are warning Central Illinois residents about fraudsters taking advantages of the COVID-19 outbreak.

“Unfortunately, while uncertainty can reveal the best of our society and citizens’ good will and generosity, scammers and fraudsters take advantage of others, to prey on people’s fears and to exploit our compassion and generosity," said U.S. Attorney for Central Illinois John Milhiser and FBI Springfield Special Agent in Charge Sean M. Cox.

"New scams will emerge; not only person to person, but also cyber criminals who will perpetuate scams to steal your money, by selling fake cures online and other forms of cyber fraud, such as phishing emails or malware inserted into mobile apps that appear legitimate to track the spread of the virus. These frauds attempt to exploit and target the elderly, the sick, and the economically disadvantaged," they said.

They urge the public to exercise caution and be alert for scams and frauds, and to report suspected fraud schemes related to COVID-19 (the Coronavirus) by calling the National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) hotline (1-866-720-5721) or to the NCDF e-mail address disaster@leo.gov.

— Ryan Denham | WGLT