PEORIA — Though he was careful not to hijack the public health aspect of the daily COVID-19 news briefing at the Peoria City/County Health Department on Monday, Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis asked for more downstate participation in decisions affecting the Peoria economy during the pandemic.


"It is time for the governor to specifically engage downstate leaders in a process to potentially allow communities that would qualify to begin safely opening their economies," he said at the briefing. "I’m not saying that I have THE plan. I will say there are several mayors and business groups developing ideas of how this could potentially come together."


While the mayor said he has been generally supportive of the governor’s management of the pandemic in Illinois, he would like to see both medical and economic metrics considered when decisions about quarantines and business shutdowns are being made. He is circulating a plan for re-opening drawn up by Adams County, a community of 65,000 people in west-central Illinois.


"We can do this without jeopardizing our health and safety, and that should be our goal," said Ardis.


Confirmed cases of COVID-19 rose by four in the last 24 hours, to a total of 117 cases in the Tri-County Area. Peoria County now has 96 cases, Tazewell County has 37, and Woodford County has 11, said Monica Hendrickson, PCCHD administrator.


As of Monday, all three testing sites were online in Peoria. While testing maxed out during the first week, when only one site was open, the added sites seem to have met the demand. Over the weekend, only 80 tests were completed on Saturday, and 88 tests were done on Sunday.


Hendrickson said that increased testing will help public health officials get a better understanding of what’s happening in the community. She also agreed with Ardis about the importance of considering both health and economic metrics when having conversations about re-opening the community.


"I completely agree with the mayor that we need to start having these conversations," said Hendrickson. "It’s not siloed in just public health only, and it’s not siloed in just economics only. ... It’s going to need to be a conversation that happens on different levels."


Leslie Renken can be reached at 686-3250 or lrenken@pjstar.com. Follow her on Twitter.com/LeslieRenken, and subscribe to her on Facebook.com/leslie.renken.