Daily Egyptian

City officials say eclipse brought 50,000 to Carbondale, no significant injuries or incidents reported

By Joe McLaughlin

In the months leading up to the eclipse weekend, city officials projected 50,000 to 100,000 visitors would descend upon Carbondale.

The number ended up being on the low end of that spectrum — the city, which was a few miles north of the eclipse’s point of greatest duration, hosted 50,000 people Aug. 21, according to a press release sent out by Carbondale Public Relations Officer Amy Fox.  

Officials from area hospitals said they did not see the influx they expected from eclipse-watchers.

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Rosslind Rice, the communications coordinator for Southern Illinois Healthcare, said the three-hospital system treated about 20 celestial spectators over the weekend, most of whom had heat-related medical issues. On eclipse day, the temperature reached 90 degrees with a heat index of 100 degrees.

“[Carbondale] Memorial was very well-staffed and well-prepared,” Rice said.

The hospital system treated one eye injury Aug. 21, though Rice said Tuesday it was too soon to say if the injury was eclipse-related. She said the patient has been referred to an ophthalmologist.

In a press release from the city, the Carbondale Police Department said it had no reports of significant incidents over eclipse weekend.

“For the last four days, [law enforcement] worked hard to make sure our residents and visitors alike had a great and safe experience,” Carbondale Police Chief Jeff Grubbs said.

Carbondale Mayor Mike Henry credited the lack of incidents to the city’s long-term planning.

“We had a very successful event in Carbondale,” Mayor Mike Henry said in the release. “We had people in attendance from all parts of the world. We’re looking forward to doing this again in seven years.”

Staff writer Joe McLaughlin can be reached at jmclaughlin@dailyegyptian.com or on Twitter at @jmcl_de.

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1 Comment

One Response to “City officials say eclipse brought 50,000 to Carbondale, no significant injuries or incidents reported”

  1. Bruce on August 25th, 2017 11:35 am

    Hey, all you Illinois folks. Thanks for putting up with us out-of-staters who were driving like madmen to get to good viewing spots. Speaking of good viewing, one reason Carbondale had that low count was that some people made last-minute decisions to drive elsewhere to either avoid cloud cover or give up getting to Carbondale due to heavy traffic. Whoever predicted your crowd sizes could not have known the last-minute changes in plans by drivers like myself. I was headed to Carbondale but elected to improvise based on traffic and cloud cover.

    I wonder how many of you folks know that at the last hour, there were “trains” of cars blasting through corn fields at high speeds on local roads, all heading for an optimum spot due to last-minute decisions (and running late due to traffic delays as well). Without GPS, we would have been lost. I remember one road was basically somebody’s personal driveway. The road was dirt, pebbles, and grass, but still worth taking. Thanks again. Good luck in the next eclipse, you lucky dogs!

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