As local leaders examine making wearing masks a mandatory measure to help stop the spread of COVID-19, the recent acquisition of 10,000 masks will make them easier to obtain for those who need masks.
As COVID-19 cases have surged in Bulloch County, from 62 on June 1 to 546 as of Wednesday, leaders are discussing possible mandates to help lessen the spread of the virus. Bulloch County Public Safety/Emergency Management Agency Director Ted Wynn said plans are being made to determine how the 10,000 masks obtained recently by the county will be distributed.
Likely, “charitable organizations” will make the masks available to lower-income residents and others who may not be able to purchase masks, he said.
As of Wednesday afternoon, 546 Bulloch County residents had tested positive for the coronavirus since the beginning of the pandemic, up by14 from Tuesday.
A potential witness in a pending court case tested positive for the virus Tuesday, receiving notice of the test results while in the Bulloch County Judicial Annex. This prompted a judicial order to close the annex and postpone court business through Thursday while the building is sanitized.
Bulloch County Board of Commissioners Chairman Roy Thompson said Tuesday’s closure of the annex led to a further discussion of county-wide safety measures and resulted in the formation of an advisory committee.
Members of the committee are contemplating possible mandates such as wearing masks in public, but decisions have not been made, he said.
The rapid increase of COVID-19 cases across the nation led to Georgia universities now mandating the use of masks, as well as some cities, including Savannah and Atlanta, also making mask-wearing in public mandatory, according to Wynn.
The Statesboro City Council has not issued any orders regarding masks, but Mayor Jonathan McCollar drafted a letter to local businesses urging them to require people entering their facilities to wear masks. Wynn said face masks “protect others” as well as the wearer, since the coronavirus is known to be passed through moisture droplets that are expelled through coughs and sneezes.
That’s also why social distancing — staying at least 6 feet away from others — is recommended, he said.
While the number of COVID-19 cases continues to climb, the number of deaths in the county remains at four. As of Wednesday, 40 of the 546 Bulloch County residents testing positive for coronavirus had been admitted to the hospital. East Georgia Regional Medical Center had 18 patients with COVID-19 Wednesday, with three of those patients on ventilators, Wynn said.
Between Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons, Bulloch County EMS transported two confirmed COVID-19 positive patients. This adds up to 38 probable and 31 confirmed transports by EMS, he said.
In Georgia, the state had 103,890 confirmed COVID cases as of 3 p.m. Wednesday. There have been 12,500 hospitalizations and 2,922 deaths.
There had been 3,080,000 confirmed cases of COVID in the U.S. and 134,231 deaths as of 3 p.m. Wednesday.
Herald reporter Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at (912) 489-9414.