Headlines for Sunday, March 22nd

The Illinois Department of Public Health announced Saturday 168 new cases of coronavirus disease in the state, including another death, a Cook County man in his 70s.  The IDPH is reporting a total of 753 cases in 26 counties in Illinois.  Counties that have reported coronavirus include Washington and Clinton counties.  So far, no confirmed cases have been reported in Wayne County or in southeastern Illinois.  The state is under a “Shelter in Place” order until April 7th, although essential services will remain open, and people can still run errands and travel to get gas, groceries and medicines.  Area roadways will remain open during the “Shelter in Place” order.  Schools are closed through April 7th.

Fairfield Grade School District Superintendent Dr. Scott England released information Saturday concerning the coronavirus.  He said the district is offering delivery of food for any family in the district who calls to get on the delivery list.  The number to call is 842-6501.  A bus will go out each day between 8 and 11 a.m.  At each stop, a staff member will knock on the door and leave food on the porch.  Once someone comes to the door, the bus will continue, but if no one comes to the door the staff will take the food back on the bus and a return trip will not be guaranteed.  Families can also pick up food at North Side School and at Jesus Name Pentecostal Church at 1112 SW 6th Street.   Dr. England said a total of 297 students were served meals this past Tuesday through Friday under their Emergency Food Program.

A post on the Edwards County Senior Citizens Center Facebook page says the South Eastern Illinois Agency on Aging completed an emergency call with the Illinois Department on Aging and determined that senior meals are considered essential.  As a result, meals will still be prepared as long as employees and manpower is available.  To order a meal, call 445-2017 if you live in Albion and want a meal delivered.  Monday’s meal is chicken strips.  In West Salem the number to call is 456-3600 and in Grayville 375-7777.

The COVID-19 outbreak is affecting area communities, including Mt. Vernon, financially.  Mt. Vernon City Manager Mary Ellen Bechtel said late last week the city could lose out on over $1 million in total tax revenue based on conservative estimates.  However, she said it is important to keep vital services running during the outbreak.  Bechtel said the city was making plans on how to cover the losses of revenue in the city’s budget.

Area river stages:  Little Wabash River east of Fairfield is at 26.56 feet.  Flood stage is 17 feet.  At Clay City the stage is 20.45 feet.  Flood stage is 18 feet.  At Carmi the river is at 28.92 feet.  Flood stage is 27 feet.  The Skillet Fork at Wayne City is at 14.54 feet.  Flood stage is 15 feet.  The Wabash River at Mt. Carmel stands at 21.84 feet.  Flood stage is 19 feet.  More rain is expected in the area, starting later today and tonight.