CITY OFFICIALS SPREAD OUT to maintain six feet between each person at Monday’s council meeting. City Attorney Thomas Lehman, left and back to camera, and City Manager Chris Addleton, right, who normally sit on the dais sat in the audience with the city clerk Monday. Councilman Demario Byrden chose to sit in the very back of the room. At the dais are, l-r Councilmen Lannis Thornton, Bobby Gwaltney, Mayor Pro tem Jerry Cox and Councilman James H. (Jimmy) Douglas.
Local government officials are urging Grady County residents to follow guidelines put in place by Gov. Brian Kemp Monday as the community navigates the threat of coronavirus transmission. After listening on a telephone conference call with Gov. Kemp and Dougherty County government officials Tuesday, the Grady County Commission agreed there was no need to tighten restrictions outlined by the governor earlier this week.
Gov. Kemp issued an executive order Monday requiring Georgians at high risk of contracting coronavirus to stay at home.
The order, which took effect at noon Tuesday and runs until noon April 6, also closes all bars and nightclubs in Georgia and prohibits gatherings of 10 or more unless the participants remain at least six feet apart.
The state Department of Public Health is authorized to close any businesses that aren’t complying with the order.
Although the number of COVID-19 cases in the state had risen to 1,097 with 38 deaths as of 7 p.m. Tuesday, there are no Grady County residents with a positive result, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health.
There are, however, three patients at Grady General Hospital who are awaiting test results as reported Tuesday by Archbold Memorial Hospital, which operates G.G.H. Visitation at G.G.H. and Archbold is no longer allowed, with limited exceptions, and all elective surgeries have been suspended until further notice.
Archbold has had five patients test positive, and four of those are being treated in the Thomasville hospital while the fifth remained at home Tuesday. They have 13 inpatients and 90 patients at home awaiting test results, and they have had a total of 28 tests come back negative.
Grady County Commission Chairman Keith Moye urged people to continue to wash their hands as they follow the governor’s executive order. “I see no need to implement a state of emergency,” Moye said after Tuesday’s conference call, which also included local officials from all around Southwest Georgia.
Richard Phillips, Grady County director of emergency management, said he has ordered additional personal protection equipment for local first responders. “We have enough for day to day operations, but not enough if we have a breakout,” Phillips said. Body bags were also on his order.
“We’re trying to get prepared,” the local EMA director says, “we’re preparing for the worst and hoping for the best.”
J.C. (Buddy) Johnson, III, Grady County administrator, was not at the meeting in person, but joined by telephone and warned that he expects the situation will worsen. He encouraged, meanwhile, residents to support local businesses.
City of Cairo officials urged citizens to support local businesses during a live streamed video on Facebook with the Cairo-Grady County Chamber of Commerce and other local leaders.
“Support you local businesses,” said Mayor Pro Tem Jerry Cox. “Call your restaurants or drive-thru and pick-up. Follow what the businesses have put in place to protect you and their employees.”
Cox also said the city was ready and willing to take further restrictive action if it would “reduce the risk to the citizens of Cairo.” Meanwhile, city officials encourage good hygiene through hand washing, keeping six feet from others, and avoiding crowds.
Cairo city manager Chris Addleton said residents should know their governmental services, such as electricity, water and wastewater, would continue through the crisis. “They are secure and reliable,” Addleton said.