The City of Statesboro in conjunction with Bulloch County are working diligently to plan and prepare for COVID-19, should it reach this area. At present, there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Statesboro or Bulloch County. However, both the city and county continue to monitor the virus and work closely with the Bulloch County Health Department and Bulloch County Emergency Management to provide updates that would affect the community.
“The City of Statesboro is actively working to protect the health and safety of our citizens,” said Mayor McCollar. “We want to ensure our community has access to all the latest information regarding the virus, so they can be prepared. I would like to urge our citizens to be mindful of where you are getting your information from. At times like these, it is easy to give in to panic and believe everything you read online. I ask you to please be vigilant and mindful of how you are sharing information. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) are your number one resources during this time.”
At the directive of the CDC, the Mayor is discouraging the community from attending and hosting in-person events that consist of 50 or more people over the next eight weeks to slow the spread of the virus. The city is taking additional measures within the community and within the city workforce.
Effective immediately, city departments and affiliates have been instructed to cancel all events that involve public participation which include:
- First Fridays, which take place in Downtown Statesboro on the first Friday of every month
- Public performance events at the Averitt Center
- All hearings and arraignments at the Municipal Court of Statesboro will cease until March 31, 2020
- The Statesboro Convention & Visitors Bureau will be indefinitely closed to the public starting today, March 16, though operations will be maintained.
- City Council meetings and work sessions will proceed as scheduled, but will be posted on the City of Statesboro’s YouTube channel as well as its Facebook page for citizens to attend virtually (citizens are still permitted to attend, but encouraged to participate from home).
City Suspends Utility Disconnections
The Mayor announced on Friday, March 13, the city would be suspending utility disconnections on water and gas services starting Monday, March 16, 2020, and lasting two weeks. As of today, the mayor has extended the suspension to cover the next 30 days. Balances will continue to accrue during the suspension. City Hall will be open during this time; however, citizens are encouraged to pay their bills online at municipalonlinepayments.com/statesboroga/, by phone at (833)-262-590, or use the drive-through window at City Hall.
Bulloch County Response
“I want to remind our citizens during this time that it is important to practice the basics of virus prevention,” said Bulloch County Board of Commissioners Chairman Roy Thompson. “Wash your hands, cover your mouth when coughing and sneezing, and if you feel unwell, do not report to work. Those who are most at risk, including the elderly and those who have compromised immune systems, should take extra precautions.”
Meanwhile, Bulloch County has taken similar measures as the City of Statesboro such as suspending permits for special public events and many Parks and Recreation activities, the scaling back of court operations, and modification of workforce activities.
County Commission meetings will also proceed as scheduled.
Meanwhile, Bulloch County has provided $100,000 in emergency funds for the Bulloch County Health Department, along with the use of county emergency procurement powers. This action will enable quicker response for localized incidents, if needed.
If you have recently traveled to areas where there are ongoing outbreaks of COVID-19, and you develop fever with cough and shortness of breath within 14 days of your travel, or if you have been in contact with someone who is suspected to have COVID-19, stay home and call your health care provider or local health department right away. Be sure to call before going to a doctor’s office, emergency room or urgent care center and tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms. If you are not symptomatic, it is not necessary to reach out to a health care provider at this time.
- Please continue to practice the basic prevention tips listed below:
- Staying at home when you are sick, except to get medical care.
- Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Clean frequently touched surfaces and objects daily.
- Avoid handshakes and “high-fives”
More information, including links with guidance for businesses, employers and schools, is posted on the CDC’s website at CDC.gov. Localized information regarding COVID-19, can be found at DPH’s website at dph.georgia.gov.