Cicero proud of its strong response to COVID and protection of our residents
Town President Larry Dominick and the Town of Cicero Board of Trustees implemented a strong and effective campaign to confront the Coronavirus COVID Pandemic beginning in early 2020, making vaccinations available to all residents of the town and doing outreach in both English and Spanish to ensure an effective response. The vaccination program continues. For more information visit the Town’s website at www.TheTownofCicero.com.
The Town of Cicero implemented an aggressive response to the health threat posed to residents by the COVID Pandemic in 2020. Cicero used its existing resources supplemented by Coronavirus Relief Funding.
Cicero Police and all First Responders, including firefighters, paramedics and Health Department staff faced a “100 times” greater exposure to COVID infection than the average citizen because of the high number of human-to-human contacts they conducted in order to protect the safety of the public.
As a consequence, COVID funding was heavily directed towards supporting health and safety resources mainly involving Police, Firefighters, first responders, and our Health Department to maintain the highest level of safety for our residents.
Police, Firefighters and First Responders had a higher rate of COVID infections than the average citizen.
In the case of Police, the Police Department experienced in 2020 534 COVID “Injury on Duty” days-off (or 4,272 total hours) for sworn personnel. When personnel experience such a vast amount of injury on duty days off, coverage of those shifts are often covered by personnel called in to work on duty days-off to ensure and maintain adequate staffing levels top ensure public safety:
- Calendar Year 2020 Police Department overtime actuals surpassed budget by $264,313.
- Calendar Year 2020 Fire Department overtime exceeded budget by $46,339. Firefighters logged 2,666 overtime working hours in 2020.
To address these challenges, the Town of Cicero hired additional police, firefighters, paramedics and Health Department employees in an effort to ensure an effective COVID response. Cicero did not want to diminish our obligations to the public. In addition, the effort to confront the pandemic threat resulted in large overtime costs as many first responder staff worked additional hours to respond to the increased public need and emergency COVID related calls.
Second, Cicero invested in COVID PPE distributed to employees and to residents to reduce infections and keep first responders safe so they could protect our citizens from criminals and respond in emergency situations to emergency health calls and fires.
Last year, Cicero’s Police, Fire and Health departments were engaged for months in monitoring and helping to mitigate the spread of Coronavirus exposures at one of the Town’s two Nursing Homes.
Additionally, the Town of Cicero hosted and co-hosted dozens of food giveaways face mask giveaways to assist residents negatively impacted by the pandemic. This required hundreds of employees being involved in organizing the giveaway programs including assigning police to manage huge crowds of residents seeking food and PPE/Face Masks. In many cases, vehicles lined up for more than one mile while volunteers and Town employees staffed the giveaway lines for many hours during each event.
Finally, funding also supported the Town’s aggressive vaccination program by the Cicero Health Department (CHD). CHD provided 26,000 vaccinations to members of the public adding staff and purchasing computer equipment to manage the schedules. Cicero’s vaccination program was among the most extensive of any community in the Chicagoland suburban area. CHD hired additional staff to address COVID infections and concerns among residents, as well as funding the aggressive vaccination program.
From March to December 2020, the Town had total estimated expenditures of direct COVID-19 of $343,549.00. While the Town has submitted for reimbursement for these direct PPE expenditures through December 31, 2020 through a FEMA/IEMA Public Assistance Grant, as of August 9, 2021, the Town has not received any reimbursement.
Funds were also spent to purchase advertising, robocalls and flyers to support public awareness and participation.
Under state law, Cicero is required to accept COVID vaccination appointments from both residents of the Town of Cicero and individuals who lived outside of the Town of Cicero so despite assertions of low vaccination numbers among the Hispanic Community in Cicero, they do not include the thousands of vaccinations administered by law to individuals who live outside of the Town of Cicero.
Despite a reluctance among some residents to be vaccinated, especially among undocumented residents, the Town of Cicero’s vaccination program has resulted in 42.5 percent of the population (36,189 people) receiving both vaccinations, and 60.4 percent (50,650 people) receiving at least one vaccination. This does not include non-residents from outside Cicero who were vaccinated.
Vaccination remains a choice and is not mandated or required although the Town of Cicero continues to urge residents to participate in the Town’s vaccination programs.
Obviously, people with outside agendas have sought to politicize and distort these facts for their own personal advantage. But the truth is, Cicero used COVID funding to strengthen the Town’s response to protect the residents at every level and to ensure that Town Services continued at the highest levels without sacrifice. Cicero funded an aggressive COVID vaccination program that has helped the community survive this pandemic and that continues to answer the community demand for vaccinations.
- Hired 36 Police officers since Jan. 1, 2020
- 52 fulltime Police Officers contracted COVID requiring medical treatment
FIRE DEPT HIRES
- Hired 14 firefighters
- 21 firefighters (28 percent of the Fire Department) contracted COVID
HEALTH DEPT HIRES
- 20 clerical hires; 7 nurses, nurse practitioners and medical residents hired
- 3 staff infected with COVID; 4 staff quarantined
Town President Larry Dominick declared an Emergency on March 18, 2020 and formed the Emergency Operations Committee which issued detailed daily public reports on the COVID Pandemic translated in English and Spanish and distributed on social media and published on the Town’s official website.
Cicero is unique in that it has a higher population density than any other Chicagoland suburban community. Additionally, Cicero has a large undocumented population which received health care services from the Town of Cicero. Cicero adopted the “Safe Space” Resolution which guarantees to protect all undocumented residents. The Resolution is one reason why Cicero has more undocumented residents because they come to our community knowing that they will be safer with us than in any other community in the Chicagoland.
For more information visit the Town of Cicero’s website at www.TheTownofCicero.com.
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