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‘All we have is distance’ Kankakee Mayor addresses City following ‘Stay-at-Home’ order

Area gyms, still open as of Thursday, March 19th, now closed

“This is a time for humanity. This is a time for us to be kind to one another.”

That was the message Kankakee Mayor Chasity Wells-Armstrong had for citizens as she addressed them while practicing social distancing via Facebook Live Friday night. “We will continue to operate and provide services to our residents in this community. That is important. Though we are in a crisis, we must continue to serve and make sure that everyone is taken care of in the City of Kankakee.”

The Mayor’s statement came hours following Governor Pritzker’ ‘Stay-at-Home’ Order for the State of Illinois to go into effect later tonight at 5 pm and last through April 7th. Late last night, Kankakee Health Department announced the second case of COVID-19 in the Kankakee County.

During the Governor’s address, his lead advisor and Lead Epidemiologist at the University of Chicago Medicine, Dr. Emily Landon, address citizens on why doctors are so concerned:

“All of us in the field agree with this course of action. I’ve spoken with my colleagues and this is the only way forward. This virus is unforgiving. It spreads before you even know you have it. But the real problem isn’t the 80% that will get over this in a week, it’s the 20% and over that will need our support. We do amazing things like this every single day, but we can’t take care of everyone at once. Our healthcare system doesn’t have any slack. We barely have enough masks for the nurses we have.  

Dr. Landon went on to compare a tale of two cities during the 1918 pandemic that chose to use social distancing advice in completely different ways. The same tools we are using now to fight this disease. “We had limit tools last time during the beginning of the 1918 pandemic. St. Louis shut itself down and sheltered in place. But Philadelphia went ahead with a huge parade to celebrate those going off to war. A week later Philadelphia hospitals were overrun, and thousands were dead. Many more than in St. Louis. This is a cautionary tale for our time.”

Dr. Landon stressed people know ‘there’s no vaccine’ and that ‘all we have is distance.’

That’s exactly why, as Mayor Wells-Armstrong said during her address, “Visitors to our hospitals, both AMITA St. Mary’s and Riverside Healthcare have been restricted, and that is to keep people safe. We had gym owners in the county that were continuing to stay open; I have been notified that those gyms have closed.”

The Mayor asked residents not to panic over the order which allows much leeway for residents to escape their homes and take advantage of parks, nature, and care for the family. “Much of what we have been doing is going to continue.”

All Police, Fire and dispatch units will be fully staffed and remain at total capacity to serve the community. Other departments throughout the City will begin flexing time and schedules to work with skeleton crews and practice social distancing. “This is their time to rise and shine in these moments of crisis.” the Mayor said.

Earlier in the day, Kankakee Community College announced they had suspended face-to-face classes for the remainder of the Spring 2020 semester.

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