The Latest on Coronavirus in Springfield And Central Illinois

Apr 12, 2020

This post is for news on local response to the virus in Springfield and Central Illinois.

For last week’s updates, go to this post. You can send tips, questions or announcements to engage@nprillinois.org.

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Illinois stands at 20.852 as of Sunday, and 720 people have died. Eighty-six counties now have at least one confirmed case.

Illinois is under a stay-at-home order to stem the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there is no vaccine to prevent the disease. The CDC has tips on how to protect yourself.

April 12, 3:40 p.m.

Central Illinois Case Update

Public health officials in Macon County reported 10 more people have tested positive for COVID-19, for a total of 35, including one death. Fifteeen of the cases were tied to Fair Havens Senior Living facility.

No new cases were reported in Logan County.

April 12, 3 p.m.

Pritzker Says Peak May Be In Sight

The number of new deaths reported as of Sunday was 43, the lowest increase over the last six days, the governor reported. Of new COVID-19 deaths, all but one were in the Chicago area. That was in St. Clair County.

April 11, 5:30 p.m.

Sangamon County Reports Another Death

Public health and hospital officials in Sangamon County reported the third death from COVID-19 in the county.

The victim was a female in her 70s that tested positive on April 4. She was hospitalized at Memorial Medical Center before she passed.

The total number of confirmed cases in Sangamon County is 41, including three deaths. 

April 11, 5:00 p.m.

Central Illinois Case Update

Public health officials in Macon County reported eight more people have tested positive for COVID-19, for a total of 25, including one death.

In Christian County, officials reported one more confirmed case, for a total of 24, including three deaths.

Health officials in Logan and Morgan counties reported no new cases. There are three confirmed cases in Logan, and 10 in Morgan, including one death.

April 11, 4:40 p.m.

New Telehealth Programs, Online Mental Health Support

Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced two new statewide programs to assist people with COVID-19, and those needing mental health support.

Illinois residents who have COVID-19 symptoms or may have been exposed can recover from their homes with the help of the Remote Patient Monitoring Program and Pandemic Health Worker Program.

Those who are sick but don’t need hospitalization will have daily virtual visits with health workers. They will also receive wellness kits with alcohol wipes, thermometers, and blood pressure cuffs.

Residents must call the hotlines to confirm their eligibility for the Remote Patient Monitoring Program. The hotlines are divided by region.

OSF Healthcare is working with the state to provide this service in parts of central Illinois, including Peoria/Bloomington, Champaign/Urbana, Evergreen Park, Danville, Galesburg, Kewanee, Monmouth, Ottawa, Mendota, Streator, Pontiac and Rockford. The number is 833-673-5669 and is available now. More information is available on their website.

SIU School of Medicine is providing the service in central and southern Illinois, including Springfield, Quincy, Decatur, Carbondale, and Metro East communities. That number is 217-545-5100 and will be available starting Monday. More information is on their website.

The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services, which is coordinating the service, will announce a hotline for the northern region of the state next week.

The Illinois Department of Human Services’ Mental Health Division created a free program called “Call4Calm”. It provides emotional support for Illinois residents who are experiencing stress and mental health issues during the crisis.

Residents simply need to text “TALK” or “HABLAR” to 552020 and within 24 hours, a counselor will call and provide support.

April 11, 3:20 p.m.

Ringing in Springfield Initiative

The City of Springfield is partnering with churches and other places of worship to ring their bells at 7:00 p.m. every evening for one minute beginning this Sunday, April 12 and ending when the stay-at-home order is lifted.

The initiative, called “Ringing In Springfield", aims to remind residents of the healthcare workers and first responders that serve and protect others during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Residents are encouraged to join in by ringing bells from their homes or cheering as a sign of support.

Churches or other places of worship that do not have bells are encouraged to find other ways of showing support.

April 11, 1:50 p.m.

Springfield/Sangamon County Public Meetings

With the stay-at-home order extended to April 30, local government meetings in Springfield Sangamon County will be conducted online.

 

The County Board will meet Monday, April 13 at 5:30 p.m. The board plans to vote on measures to provide temporary property tax relief and temporary relief to liquor license and restaurant food permit holders. For call-in information, call the County Board Office at (217)-753-6650.

The Planning & Zoning Meeting for both March and April will take place on Wednesday, April 15 at 6:00 p.m., as the March meeting was postponed. Public comments can be made by calling Building & Zoning at (217)-789-2171 during the meeting. Staff members will contact you with instructions on how to join the meeting over the phone.

The City of Springfield’s Committee of Whole meeting is Tuesday, April 14. Residents can send concerns or questions on any issue through a written submission to the City Clerk’s office here. The meeting agenda can be found here.

Residents can view these meetings as they broadcast live on Channel 18 or by streaming them through the city’s website here.

April 10, 4:30 p.m.

Sangamon County Reports No New Cases

According to a daily joint press release, the Sangamon County Department of Public Health and four local health systems said no new COVID-19 cases were reported Friday. The total for the county remains at 41, while two people have died. Sangamon County has tested more than 800 people.

Via a statement: "Memorial Medical Center is reporting five confirmed positive cases currently hospitalized, including two Sangamon County residents, and six inpatients currently under investigation.

HSHS St. John’s Hospital is reporting three confirmed positive cases currently hospitalized, none of which are Sangamon County residents, and three inpatients currently under investigation."

April 10, 4:05 p.m.

Vibra Hospital May Not Be Operational For Another Month

Governor J.B. Pritzker previously announced a shuttered Springfield hospital will be used to expand capacity during the COVID-19 pandemic. But it could be another month before the former Vibra Hospital is able to accept patients.

Pritzker on Friday said construction at the facility is targeted for completion May 9th, and noted the Springfield area still has enough ICU beds available and it could be a few more weeks before the additional beds might be needed.

The former Vibra hospital and other locations that are being opened will make sure anyone who needs a bed can get one.

April 10, 3:55 p.m.

Local Case Update: Christian & Montgomery Counties

From the Christian-Montgomery County Emergency Managment Agency: "As of 4:36 pm last night, Montgomery County had 8 positive COVID-19 tests including 1 death, and 120 negative tests. Christian County has 23 positive tests to include 3 deaths and 112 negative tests.

Today will be the last full day of the 14-day quarantine for Rolling Meadows residents in Taylorville. The Christian County Health Department after screening residents and finding no additional symptoms or signs and with the approval of IDPH will be off of quarantine as of Saturday, 4/11/20 at 8:00am.

The logistics effort at the Park Glen complex that is under quarantine through April 19, 2020, continues by Chris-Mont Emergency Management Agency and the City of Taylorville. The resident's essential food needs basic staples, medicines and immediately required doctors’ visits continue to be met. The health department will make the final determination when the quarantine will be lifted. The residents will be informed of the final decision when it is made.

 

April 10, 3:00 p.m.

Ball-Chatham School District 3D Prints & Donates Ear Savers

According to a release, "Ball-Chatham School District donated and delivered 275 ear savers made on 3D printers at HSHS St John’s Hospital in Springfield. The district plans on donating 750 total ear savers to the hospital once they are completed." The district used four 3D printers located at Glenwood Middle School

Ear savers are plastic devices that are aimed at making face masks more comfortable to wear for extended periods.

“This has created a great opportunity for our school community to coordinate a real-world cooperative effort to assist our frontline workers in the fight to combat the spread of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases,” said Dr. Douglas Wood, superintendent of Ball-Chatham school district.

April 10, 2:30 p.m.

White Extends Expiration Dates On Driver's License, ID Cards

Once Illinois' Driver Services Facilities reopen, ID cardholders and vehicle owners will have an extra three months to renew their documents. Secretary of State Jesse White said that agency filed emergency rules extending expiration dates in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“My commitment is to do everything we can to help protect the health and safety of our residents, while still providing services to the people of Illinois,” White said in a statement. “This will, and must, continue to be the guiding principle of our decision making.”

License and document expiration dates had previously been extended by only a month.

April 10, 1:00 p.m.

SMTD Riders, Operators, Must Wear Face Masks Starting April 15

Starting Wednesday, April 15, riders on Sangamon County Mass Transit District buses will be required to wear face masks or other face-covering to board a bus. Operators will be required to wear masks.

The recommendations come as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its guidelines on face coverings, encouraging anyone going out in public wear one to help prevent the spread of the new coronavirus.

SMTD is strongly recommending passengers use masks or some sort of face-covering now, but will not begin requiring them – and refusing rides to passengers without – until Wednesday.

April 9, 7:00 p.m.

Langfelder's Latest Exec Orders: New Rules for Springfield Stores, Reprieve For Garbage Collection

Mayor Jim Langfelder is directing Springfield stores that remain open to post signs encouraging customers to wear a face mask, only allow two family members to shop at one time, and discourage parents from bringing children. All businesses must comply with new rules aimed at enforcing social distancing, or face a fine of $500 per day.

Other rules include having a written policy for employees and customers to follow social distancing guidelines. The Springfield Fire Department will investigate complaints of businesses not following these rules. After a written warning, the department can fine a business.

Separately, Langfelder ordered waste haulers to not cut off service if a resident is unable to pay their garbage collection fees.

The reprieve will last until Illinois’ emergency declaration is lifted.

April 9, 5:20 p.m.

Local Case Update: Logan County Reports Third COVID-19 Case

Public health experts confirmed a Logan County woman in her 30s has COVID-19. In a statement, officials said the woman is isolated at home. There are now 3 COVID-19 cases in Logan County. 

Separately, a person from Mason County who has the disease is currently being treated in Logan County, at Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital in Lincoln.

April 9, 4:15 p.m.

Six More COVID-19 Cases in Sangamon County, Two More In Morgan County

Six more people in Sangamon County cases have tested positive for the new coronavirus, according to county officials and local hospitals in a joint press release Thursday afternoon.  That brings the total during the pandemic to 41. Two people have died so far. Eight people have recovered from the effects of the virus. In all, Sangamon County has tested nearly 800 people for COVID-19.

Morgan County, meanwhile, is reporting two more cases: a woman in her 40s and another in her teens.  Both are recuperating at home. The total caseload there now stands at 10.

April 9, 4:00 p.m.

Local Case Update: 14 Confirmed Cases in Macon County

Public health experts confirmed Thursday one additional resident now definitively has COVID-19, bringing the total in Macon County to 14.  The county's health department reported 117 tests have been performed and four are still pending.  One person has died.

April 9, 3:00 p.m. 

Pritzker Tells Fests, Events To Consider Cancellations

Concerts, festivals and other large events could be called off this summer. Governor J.B. Pritzker says event organizers need to ‘think seriously’ about cancellations as restrictions could still be in place by then to stop the spread of COVID-19.

"I would not risk having large groups of people getting together anywhere," the governor said during his daily press briefing. "I think that’s hard for everybody to hear, but that’s just a fact."

No major cancellations have occurred yet. Pritzker's suggestion came as public health experts announced Illinois' death toll has exceeded 500.

April 9, 10:00 a.m.

UIS Webinar On Economic Impact

The University of Illinois Springfield Office of Economic Development and Innovation, College of Business and Management, College of Public Affairs and Administration and Innovate Springfield will host a free public webinar about the economic impact of COVID-19 from 12-1 p.m. Friday, April 10.
The online panel discussion will start with quick updates from Dr. Chris McDowell, chair of emergency medicine at SIU School of Medicine, and Kevin Lust, director of Small Business Development Center at Lincoln Land Community College, who will provide the latest information about the medical and business impact of COVID-19 in Sangamon County.

The update will be followed by UIS professors Kenneth Kriz and Beverly Bunch, who will provide insights on how COVID-19 is impacting our global, national and local economies. They will share implications for businesses, non-profits and governments and attempt to anticipate changes we will experience over the next few months.Participants are encouraged to register for the event at go.uis.edu/COVIDwebinar, however registration is not required. Zoom and call in connection information can be found on the registration page.

This webinar part of a series aimed at providing the local community with expert information and quality resources to navigate these challenging times. For more information, contact Bruce Sommer at bsomm2@uis.edu. 

April 8, 9:40 p.m.

LLCC Announces Summer Plans

Lincoln Land Community College has announced that summer classes will be offered online and students will pay no online fees.

Certain science, career and technical classes will meet online for the first half of the summer term, June 8-July 2, with lab and hands-on learning planned for the second half, July 6-30. 

Students who have already paid the online fee for summer will be reimbursed. Students registering for summer going forward will not pay the online fee. LLCC regular summer tuition is $131.50 per credit hour for in-district students. Financial aid is available to those who qualify. More details are available at www.llcc.edu/tuition-and-fees

Summer registration is currently open, and registration for fall classes begins April 16. More information on enrolling at LLCC is available at www.llcc.edu/getting-started.

April 8, 6:00 p.m.

More Local COVID-19 Cases Reported

Four new positive cases have been confirmed in Sangamon County as of Wednesday afternoon.  That brings the total during the pandemic to 35, with two deaths. 

The number of cases in Morgan County remains at 8.  Macoupin County has 9.  Logan County's positive cases remain at 2.  

Macon County residents confirmed to have COVID-19 is at 13.  The county's health department reported 110 tests have been performed and 8 are still pending.  There has been one death in Macon County.

The Christian-Montgomery Emergency Management Agency issued numbers Wednesday showing 23 positive cases in Christian County and 3 in Montgomery County.  As of April 8, there were no new cases of COVID-19 at Rolling Meadows Senior Living or Park Glen Apartment Complex.  Friday will mark the last day of the intiial 14 day quarantine for Rolling Meadows.  No final decision has been made on if it will continue beyond that date. Park Glen remains on quarantine through April 19.  

April 8, 5:30 p.m.

Springfield Mayor Signs New Emergency Order

Springfield Mayor Jim Langfelder has signed an Emergency Order authorizing the Springfield Police Department to take appropriate action against individuals who are not in compliance with the State of Illinois’ Stay at Home Order.

Springfield Police Chief Kenny Winslow issued a statement. “It is important that we all do our part to protect each other and that means staying at home, except for essential needs. We must take the appropriate safety precautions and practice social distancing because now is not the time to be taking risks,” he said.

Upon violation of the Executive Order, the Springfield Police Department is authorized to take appropriate enforcement action to gain compliance.

Those who witness non-compliance of the Stay at Home Order, which includes gatherings of more than 10 people, may call the Springfield Police Department Dispatch at 217-788-8311.

April 8, 1:15 p.m.

Remote Notarization

The Governor’s Office, the Secretary of State’s Office, and the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation have expanded how real-time electronic technologies may be utilized during the pandemic. Remote notarization can be used for the duration of Governor Pritzker’s stay at home order which is in effect until April 30th.

More guidance for notaries and consumers can be found here.

April 8, 12:00 p.m.

Coronavirus Impact On Downtown Springfield

At least 20-percent of Springfield's downtown workforce has been laid off in recent weeks due to the pandemic. That is according to a recent Downtown Springfield Inc. survey of both businesses and non-profit.  DSI admits the number is likely lower than the actual amount. 

More than 40-percent of respondents said they have suffered a revenue decline of 75-percent or more.  With restaurants only able to offer curbside and delivery service, most said they can survive 1-2 months under the current scenario.  A majority of downtown businesses said they can make it 3-5 months before being at risk of permanent closure.  

The survey, with results available online, was conducted from March 31-April 3.

April 8, 11:35 a.m.

UIS Makes Changes For Prospective Students

Due to the ongoing pandemic, the University of Illinois Springfield’s Office of Admission has extended its decision date for incoming fall 2020 freshmen from May 1 to June 1 to give students and families more time to learn about the campus.

Additionally, application and enrollment fees for freshman, transfer and graduate students are being waived for summer and fall 2020. UIS is also waiving the essay requirement for freshman and transfer applicants.

Virtual one-on-one appointments (as late as 7 p.m. to accommodate working adults) with UIS admission counselors and weekly Wednesday webinars are also being offered to give students a chance to learn about UIS and ask questions.

Prospective students and families who are interested in learning more about UIS should visit uis.edu/admissions/visit to schedule a virtual one-on-one appointment or RSVP to attend a weekly Wednesday webinar.

April 7, 7:05 p.m.

First Death in Macon County

A man in his 80s with COVID-19 has died in Macon County, reports the Decatur Herald & Review .

The Macon County Department of Public Health reported the death is the first in the county due to the novel coronavirus.

He is “associated with” a senior facility – Fair Havens Senior Living – in Decatur that has four confirmed cases, the newspaper reported.

The county has 12 confirmed COVID-19 cases.

April 7, 6:40 p.m.

No New Confirmed COVID-19 Cases In Sangamon County

There are no new confirmed cases amongst Sangamon County residents.

HSHS St. John’s Hospital is reporting three confirmed positive cases, none of which are Sangamon County residents, and eight patients under investigation.

Memorial Medical Center reported five confirmed positive cases, including two Sangamon County residents, and 14 patients under investigation.

For Sangamon County residents, there are 31 confirmed cases, including two deaths.

Two Confirmed COVID-19 Cases in Logan County, One In Morgan

Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital in Lincoln admitted its first patient with a positive COVID-19 test. The patient is a 90-year-old-female.

The woman is in isolation, and is receiving care in the acute care unit. Another patient has been tested and is awaiting results at the ALMH.

The total number of confirmed cases in the county is two, with 92 tests completed.

Morgan County has one new case, which brings their total to eight.

Employee With Food Service Company For Christian County Jail Tests Positive

The Christian County Sheriff’s Office has been notified that an employee of Consolidated Correctional Food Service has tested positive for COVID-19. The Christian County Health Department is also aware of the case.

The infected employee did not show symptoms, and is receiving medical care. Other potentially affected personnel are self-isolating, and not showing any symptoms.

The Christian County Sheriff’s Office contracts with the company to provide food services for the jail. However, food service employees have limited to no contact with sheriff office personnel.

April 7, 4:20 p.m.

Illinois Reports More Than 1,200 New Cases of COVID-19, 73 More Deaths

The Illinois Department of Public Health today announced 1,287 new cases of coronavirus in Illinois, including 73 additional deaths.

That’s the highest one-day number in the state since the pandemic began. The death toll for Illinois now stands at 380.

Coles, Lawrence, Richland, and Shelby counties are now reporting cases. IDPH is reporting a total of 13,549 cases in 77 counties in Illinois.

The age of cases ranges from younger than one to older than 100 years.

Public health officials and Gov. J.B. Pritzker has made it clear that due to a lack of sufficient testing, the totals are likely undercounted.

Confirmed Case In Governor’s Office

The coronavirus has shown up in the Illinois governor’s office.

Pritzker said an individual on staff began feeling ill on March 26 and went home. Now that same person has been confirmed to have COVID-19.

“So let this just affirm what we already know. Nobody is immune,” Pritzker said Tuesday.

Pritkzer said the staff member has been isolated at home since leaving the office. Since then, he said many in the office have been working from home and temperature checks are required to enter the Thompson Center in Chicago.

He said no other staff has shown symptoms.

Pritzker, who said he has not been tested, said the person wasn’t working in close contact with him.

April 7, 3:20 p.m.

United States Postal Service New Delivery Guidelines

If a delivery requires a signature, mail carriers will knock on the door, but not use the doorbell. Instead of asking for a signature on the mobile device, they will ask for your name, and leave your mail or package in a safe place.

The U.S. Postal Service enacted these new delivery methods in an effort to protect mail carriers and customers and follow CDC social distancing guidelines.

Customers and their children are asked not to approach mail carriers or postal vehicles to take a delivery. Carries will leave mail in the mailbox.

USPS is also taking other preventative steps to assure safety of carriers and customers, such as ensuring millions of masks, gloves and sanitizing products are distributed to employees. The CDC, the World Health Organization and the Surgeon General have indicated there is currently no evidence that COVID-19 is being spread through mail and packages.

Twelve Cases In Macon County

In Macon County, there are now 12 confirmed cases. A total of 92 COVID-19 tests have been performed, with six pending tests.

The Macon County Health Department traced contacts of the confirmed cases. Four of the 12 confirmed cases have been associated with a long-term care facility in Decatur. The health department will not release the name of the facility due to privacy and safety rules.

The health department reminded residents testing is not widely available to the general public, so it is important to stay at home and practice social distancing to limit the spread of COVID-19.

April 6, 5:55 p.m.

Two New Confirmed Cases In Sangamon County

There are a total of 35 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Sangamon County, with two new cases, according to a news release from Sangamon County Department of Public Health, Springfield Clinic, SIU Medicine, Memorial Medical System and HSHS St. John’s Hospital.

The county reports two deaths, and nine patients who are hospitalized at Memorial Medical Center and HSHS St. John’s Hospital. Another 25 patients have been tested.

Countywide, 656 tests have been done, and 609 have been negative.

April 6, 3:55 p.m.

State Museum Begins Documenting Life Under COVID-19

Archivists at the Illinois State Musuem are hoping to document what it's been like for Illinoisans to experience the COVID-19 pandemic. They've launched a project called "Share your Story: Illinois in the COVID-19 Pandemic" to preserve those stories for future generations.

Officials said they are "requesting personal stories, written works, artwork, photos, or photos of objects from the people of Illinois to document life during the pandemic. The Museum is collecting residents' submissions for preservation in its digital archive via its new online tool, found here."

"As history is unfolding before our eyes, the Museum is committed to documenting the experiences of the people of this state," Illinois State Museum Curator of History, Erika Holst, said in a statement.

April 6, 2:40 p.m.

Illinois SNAP Receipients To Receive "Maximum" Food Assistance Help This Week

The state's Department of Human Services, which manages Illinois' share of the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP, said 450,000 residents will be getting additional food assistance money.

Starting Wednesday, a single person receiving food assistance will now get nearly $200 automatically loaded onto their Link cards. That amount will progressively go up according to the number of people in a household. A breakdown of benefits and more info can be found here.  

April 6, 2:15 p.m.

More Macon County Residents Test Postive for COVID-19

Two more Macon County residents have tested positive for COVID-19. Emergency response officials said in a release "The first patient is a female in her 30s who is in isolation in her home. The second patient is a female in her 50s who is in isolation at Decatur Memorial Hospital."

There are now 10 confirmed cases of the disease in that county. Officials have so far completed 74 COVID-19 tests in all.

April 6, 11:30 a.m.

UIS To Move Summer Classes Online

Registration for summer and fall courses at the university started Monday. Though most of its summer courses were already scheduled to be taught online, UIS officials said in a statement all summer on-ground courses will be taught remotely as well.

From a release: "This decision emerges from an increased likelihood that some forms of social-distancing policies may continue into June. We want to do everything we can to help ensure that our students, faculty, and staff remain as safe as possible."

The university said in-person classes for the fall semester remain on-schedule, though that could change if social distancing mandates continue into the summer.

April 6, 11:00 a.m.

Springfield Catholic Diocese Offers Online Holy Week Masses

Catholic churches across 28 counties in Central Illinois have been closed to the public since March 18, per the temporary statewide ban on large gatherings. But that hasn't stopped parishes from regularly live-streaming services for the faithful online.

Bishop Thomas Paprocki said upcoming masses for Holy Week, which began Sunday and is among the most important string of days in the Christian calendar, will be no exception. The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, as well as 40 other churches across the diocese, will live-stream services for what's known as the Easter Triduum.

For the Cathedral, Holy Thursday takes place at 6:30 p.m.; Good Friday at 3:00 p.m.; Holy Saturday at 8:00 p.m.; and Easter Sunday at 10:00 a.m. You can watch those services here.

April 5, 5:11 p.m.

Area Counties Report More Cases 

Sangamon County announced two more cases Sunday. One is a Sangamon County resident, the other from Menard County. That brings the total number of Sangamon County residents with COVID-19 to 28, with 5 from other counties and two deaths. Six of the confirmed cases are in Memorial Medical Center. A total of 21 people under investigation are hospitalized at Memorial and HSHS St. John's. There have been 602 people tested through Sangamon County. 547 of those tests came back negative.

Morgan County's Health Department has reported its 7th confirmed case, a woman in her 40's. A statement from the Department said the woman is stable and recovering at home while an investigation into her contacts is underway.

In Macon County, two additional cases were announced Sunday. They include a man in his 60's who is at home. A man in his 80's is hospitalized at Decatur Memorial Hospital. There have been six other cases confirmed in that county.

Christian County had one new death related to COVID-19, the third fatality from the county, which has 19 confirmed cases.

Montgomery County has one new case, bringing the total to 3. On Saturday, the death of man in his 50's from Montgomery County was announced.

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