Health department approves regional reopening plan

By Tom Osborne
Posted 5/17/20

The Crawford County Board of Health gave their approval to a regional reopening plan pending approval by the governor.

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Health department approves regional reopening plan


The Crawford County Board of Health gave their approval to a regional reopening plan pending approval by the governor.

The “Back to Business” plan approved Friday recognizes regional differences that exist in Illinois, more specific than the plan proposed earlier by Governor JB Pritzker.

The health department recommended beginning with the strictest phase ,Phase I, and gradually allowing more businesses and services to reopen, provided there were no outbreaks that would overwhelm the area health care system and hospitals.

“We recommend starting in Phase 1, contingent upon the governor’s approval,” Crawford County Health Department Administrator Darla Tracy said. “We do not endorse opening until this plan has been officially approved by the state, but will provide health and safety guidance and education for anyone who chooses to do so.

Unlike the governor’s plan, the regional approach allows for more localized decision monitoring and decision making and would re-evaluate the situation every 14-days rather than 28 days.

Although the health department approved the plan, they do not actually exist as an enforcement agency necessarily.

“Our role is to provide guidance and education regarding public health issues to the public,” Tracy said. “We’re not going to be going out and closing down businesses that do not comply with the reopening plan.”

Crawford County Board of Health President Kayla Blank added “We want to keep the community safe and healthy. We encourage businesses who are choosing to reopen to contact us regarding the safety guidance and education to keep not only the business owners and employees safe, but also their customers.”

Some businesses and local organizations have expressed a fear that if they don’t comply with the guidelines, they can be shut down by the health department, but Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike clarified the role of local health departments.

“Local health departments exits to keep people safe,” Ezike said. “When infectious diseases are discovered, it is our LHDs that investigate cases, suspected carriers, locate and evaluate contacts and determine necessary control measures, including isolation and quarantine.”

The full text of the plan approved by the board of health can be found by clicking the attachment at the left side of this article.