Weekly COVID-19 Response Update from Mayor Ley (Week of April 20)

 In City Leadership

As I was standing atop the north water tower last week, I had a unique view of the city. It was amazing to be up that high and, as I looked out in all directions, I couldn’t help but reflect on the state of our city. First, I am grateful for the leadership of our city departments, who are keeping the business of government moving forward during these unusual times. I also felt hopeful as I stood 140 feet above Auburn’s countryside. I know the past couple of months have been an extremely challenging time, but I believe in the resiliency of our community—our strength, our determination and our compassion for one another. So, while the road ahead may not be smooth, I do believe it’s travelable and we will thrive again.

Looking Forward
I am looking forward to when the Governor’s executive orders allow businesses to reopen. As a business owner, I understand the challenges that our local businesses are facing. Additionally, our departments are working through what city services will look like when we open doors to the public again. We’re discussing how to safeguard people with practices, such as social distancing, limiting the number of people in offices, and using Plexiglass as a buffer.

Parkview’s Phased Approach to Reopening Services
I continue to keep in touch with local healthcare providers. Tasha Eicher, president of Parkview DeKalb Hospital, shared with me that the hospital is working on a phased approach to reopening services that meet the Governor’s approved criteria. She said some of the measures include phone screening protocols, social distancing practices throughout the facility, universal masking protocols, as well as strategic scheduling to support the practice of social distancing. Additionally, she said Parkview is offering a free webinar series called Roadmap to a Healthy Reopening. Led by physicians and business leaders, the series will provide guidance on the procedures and protocols companies may want to consider as employees transition back to work. You can find a list of dates on this website—each session is tailored to a specific industry.

Virtual and Crisis Counseling
We continue to hear from local organizations about the resources they have available during the pandemic. Northeastern Center asked us to share about the crisis counseling they are providing to essential workers, as well as COVID-19 patients and families. Virtual counseling can be scheduled by calling 260-925-2453. Additionally, Northeastern Center’s crisis line is available 24 hours a day at 800-790-0118.

Importance of Completing Census
DeKalb County is responding to the 2020 Census at a rate higher than the national and state averages. This is encouraging news, and I want to ask you to keep it going. Major funding decisions are based off of census data, so in order to ensure we get the right amount of funding from the federal government, we need to present an accurate and up-to-date picture of our community. You can complete the 2020 Census at https://2020census.gov or by calling 844-330-2020.

Spring Clean-Up
We have received lots of questions about when Spring Clean-up will be rescheduled. As we shared previously, Republic Services made this decision to protect the health of its workers. Unlike regular garbage and recycling pickups, Spring Clean-up requires workers to leave the cab of their trucks. Additionally, with the state’s stay-at-home order, garbage and recycling volumes have increased dramatically so Republic needs to focus on its primary services. A new date will not be set until sometime after the stay-at-home order is lifted. Therefore please do NOT put your items at the curb. Neighbors are complaining about items being left at the curb for days or weeks. We appreciate your cooperation with this situation.

Stay Updated
You can stay informed about the Governor’s executive orders by tuning into daily briefings at 2:30pm. Most TV stations are airing them live, via live stream on the state’s website or via Facebook.

Guiding Leadership
I had the opportunity to participate in a prayer meeting with County Line Church of God, along with Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry, Senator Dennis Kruse and State Rep Ben Smaltz. While I pray for our community regularly, it was good to come together with others and have intentional prayer for government, business and community leaders as we all navigate this unprecedented time. Thanks for all of your support. I remain steadfast that we will get through this. #INthistogether

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