While Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp is still leaving it up to county governments as to how they handle COVID-19 precautions, Statesboro and Bulloch County leaders agree that for now, there will be no curfew or mandated “shelter in place” order.
However, they are promoting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and President Donald Trump’s suggested “15 days to slow the spread” idea, said Bulloch County Public Safety and Emergency Management Agency Director Ted Wynn.
“The public is encouraged to practice social distancing and CDC guidelines to prevent further spread and exposure.”
City and county officials held a conference call Friday morning to discuss the ongoing concern. As of Friday, there were no reported cases of anyone testing positive for COVID-19 in Bulloch County. However, specimen collection for testing began Thursday, and some test results may be returned next week, Wynn said.
It is possible that someone in the area may test positive for the disease, but “don’t panic,” he said, advising residents to continue social distancing (remain at least 6 feet away from others), stay home, avoid groups of over 10 people and keep thorough hygiene habits, such as washing hands often.
Statewide caution and government quarantines
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Friday that Kemp has no plans to mandate a statewide quarantine or curfew or impose restrictions on restaurants, bars and other businesses.
However, many Statesboro and Bulloch County businesses have closed, limited hours or made changes such as delivering food instead of allowing people to dine in or conduct business indoors. Several public events have been canceled or postponed, and authorities strongly recommend isolation even when it is not ordered.
State Rep. Jan B. Tankersley, who lives in Brooklet, announced Friday she was under self-quarantine due to possible exposure to a ”member of the Senate (who) was tested prior to the Monday session,” which was held to ratify Kemp’s Public Health Emergency Declaration.
Test results on Tuesday revealed that the senator was positive for COVID-19, she said in a Facebook post.
She urged people to take the virus seriously.
“My quarantine ends on March 30,” she said in the social media post. “Even if you think you have not been exposed, it is important to practice the CDC and Public Health Guidelines. Please encourage your churches to hold online services to protect their congregation. If you have questions, please call the COVID-19 Hotline at 844-442-2681 or the Georgia Department of Health website. They are updating their information daily at noon and at 7:00 pm.”
Wynn said city and county officials are monitoring the COVID-19 situation, with daily updates and announcements.
Herald reporter Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at (912) 489-9414.