PEORIA — There were no new cases of coronavirus reported in the Tri-County Area in the last 24 hours, and all of the area’s five coronavirus patients are recovering at home, said Peoria City County Health Department administrator Monica Hendrickson during the daily news conference Friday.
With the shelter in place order announced by Gov. JB Prtizker just hours earlier, Hendrickson asked people to refrain from hoarding. Grocers and pharmacies will remain open through the duration of the order. Buy only what you need for a week, and avoid buying anything marked with the WIC symbol, she said.
“We are asking people not to buy in bulk, especially items that are WIC approved,” she said. Families with WIC benefits cannot afford to buy in bulk, and rely on the products being on store shelves when they need them.
“Buying in bulk is a privilege many people cannot afford,” Hendrickson said.
Managers from Peoria’s two Hy-Vee grocers were on hand to reassure residents about the food supply.
“Hy-Vee is working diligently with suppliers around the clock to reach the additional demand,” said Elise Schiel, manager of the Sheridan Road Hy-Vee.
They have reached beyond their traditional suppliers to meet the demand, and placed limits on some products.
“We have great supply,” said Eric Gharst, manager of the Grand Prairie Hy-Vee. “I think people just need to settle down a little bit.”
They also talked about the extra measures they are taking to the sanitize stores. Checkout lines get a lot of attention, with conveyor belts and payment touch pads being wiped down frequently. And by early next week they hope to have plexiglass shields in place at cash registers to protect cashiers.
Both Hy-Vees are looking for additional employees, 10 at the Grand Prairie store and 20 at the Sheridan Road store. Applications are available at hy-vee.com.
Peoria County Sheriff Brian Asbell said while the order does give him special enforcement powers, the plan is to get people on board through education. The county has seen an increase in domestic violence since the coronavirus shutdown began, Asbell said. Officers have been referring people to the UnityPlace behavioral health treatment center for counseling to reduce anxiety, he said.
Dr. Gregg Stoner, medical director of PCCHD, advised people with diabetes, heart or lung issues to work with their doctor to get their conditions under control in the next two weeks before coronavirus becomes more prevalent in the area. He suggested buying a few pieces of medical equipment — thermometer, scale, pulse oximeter, and blood pressure cuff — to better communicate with medical professionals through telehealth services.
“There are things we can’t control, but there are things we can,” Stoner said. “While we are home we need to do the things to optimize our health.”
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