Whitfield County Chairwoman Lynn Laughter and other officials of the county announced Tuesday that several rules will be voted on Wednesday to try to slow the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. The public conference was streamed on Vimeo and citizens could call in with questions.
Among the items are extending rules that would enforce the guidelines that are already in place until mid-April all the way to April 30. Other alterations would ensure the closing of children’s playgrounds, as well as the closures of massage parlors, hair salons and barbers, and tattoo parlors. She also asked for employers to allow their employees to work from home if possible.
“So those are the highlights of that,” said Chairwoman Laughter. “But just remember, it’s not finalized until five groups of elected officials vote on it.”
Claude Craig, Whitfield County’s Director of Emergency Services, ran through some statistics about COVID-19 in Georgia. As of noon Tuesday, there were 3,817 cases, with 818 hospitalized and 108 fatalities. He implored residents of the county to practice social distancing in order to slow the spread.
“I believe we’re failing as a society. The federal government, president, and the CDC came out with 15 days to slow the spread and slow the curve. I think we’ve failed on that. And we’re at the point where we’re not buying in to this as much as we could.”
Mr. Craig said there were two paths that the country could go down. One path involved social distancing and safe measures, which would end in people being able to live life normally and have cookouts on the fourth of July. But the other path would involve the country still mired in the pandemic as winter approaches.
Dr. Brad DeLay asked for Whitfield County citizens to also act within the guidelines. However, he struck a slightly more optimistic tone, and told people that their mental health is still important. He noted that taking breaks from news coverage of COVID-19, and to get outside from time to time “if you can stay away from people.”
He also stressed the need to get news from reliable and trustworthy sources such as the CDC, the Whitfield County website, and local news outlets. He warned watchers about false information they may see on social media, and he said there is much medical experts still do not know about COVID-19.
“Until the scientists and the real smart people come up with information on what kills it in water or in the air or here or there, I’m good with the wait to concentrate and do what the CDC says,” said Mr. Craig.
One citizen asked if people who had already gotten over the virus could catch it again. Dr. Pablo Perez said at the moment, there was no way to know, as this information is still to be gathered. Dr. DeLay said it appeared to be a flu-like virus, where it could mutate from year to year, hence there would be no way for people to be completely immune to it.
The city of Dalton is set to vote on a joint resolution concerning the COVID-19 situation on Wednesday at noon.
Whitfield County has had 10 coronavirus cases with one death.