Statement from Director Buckingham Concerning COVID-19 Response

(BENTON-ILLINOIS) On March 16th, 2020 the Franklin County Emergency Management Agency activated the Franklin County Emergency Operations Center and begun Franklin County Government's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. On March 25th, 2020 the first positive case of COVID-19 was announced by the Franklin-Williamson Bi-County Health Department. Tomorrow, we will be officially 452 days into the response. Governor Pritzker is expected to announce the transition to Phase 5 tomorrow. After that announcement is made, the Franklin County Emergency Management Agency will no longer post daily briefings concerning COVID-19. We will continue to coordinate with the Franklin-Williamson Bi-County Health Department to monitor further spread of the disease; and will also assist with any COVID-19 related community needs that may arise in the future. Response actions will be conducted based off of situational need. Over the course of this pandemic our office has distributed thousands of items of personal protective equipment and needed resources, coordinated the response with our community partners and response agencies, and kept the public as informed as possible. I credit any success we have achieved during the past year to the hard work of the Franklin-Williamson Bi-County Health Department, our countless community partners and our emergency management staff. Unfortunately, despite our best efforts, the disease has claimed the lives of 70 Franklin County residents and affected us all in some way, shape or form. It is my hope that we never face this type of public health emergency again, however our agency will now begin the post disaster process of reviewing the response, updating emergency operations plans and working with our partners to ensure we are better prepared should we face this type of public health hazard again in the future. I want to encourage everyone to continue to take the steps that you deem necessary to protect yourself and your family from COVID-19 and wish you all a safe, happy and healthy summer.