The City of Statesboro prepares for COVID-19 under a state of emergency

Sarah Smith

STATESBORO — Mayor Jonathan McCollar declared Statesboro to be under a state of emergency from March 23 to April 7.

This state of emergency was declared at an emergency meeting Sunday afternoon at City Hall. This was an executive order, meaning that the council did not vote on it. If any persons or business does not follow the below rules, they will receive a misdemeanor, according to the order.

The executive order says that all hair salons, tattoo parlors, nail salons, spas and indoor recreational facilities such as gyms and dance studios must close during this time. Restaurants can only offer curbside service, take out, delivery and drive through, and any bar not serving food must close for business. Restaurants will be allowed to sell and deliver sealed containers of beer and wine.

Other public or private gatherings and the above businesses should not exceed the CDC’s recommended 10 people. Businesses that fall under this rule are office spaces, government facilities, schools and child-care facilities, residential buildings, shelters or temporary housing, hospitals and other medical offices, grocery stores, malls or shopping centers and other retail stores.

There have not been any confirmed cases in Bulloch County as of March 23 at 9 a.m. There are two cases in Effingham County, which borders Bulloch.

Dr. Mark McCracken of East Georgia Regional Medical Center telephoned in at the meeting Sunday to provide insight on the virus in Bulloch, according to All On Georgia. 

“We do believe there is COVID-19 in our community,” McCracken said. “It’s just a matter of finding that and testing it. Testing is difficult to obtain.”

A letter was also presented at the meeting from the hospital saying that they are “woefully unprepared” with only 24 critical care beds, according to All On Georgia. 

Georgia’s Status

As of March 22 at 7 p.m., there are 620 confirmed cases in Georgia and 25 deaths.

Dr. Carlos del Rio is an executive associate and dean for Emory at Grady in Atlanta, Georgia. Del Rio sent out a tweet on March 21 pleading Governor Brian Kemp to shut down Georgia as soon as possible.

“We need [Governor Kemp] to act now, the point of “no return” for GA is rapidly closing,” Del Rio wrote.

Del Rio linked a website, created by scholars, state representatives, website founders, scientists and engineers, with a model that predicts hospitalizations over time in the state of Georgia.

Last updated on March 19, the model shows that 229,234 hospitalizations are expected by April 24 if no action is taken. Compared to if the state had a Wuhan-style lockdown, the amount of hospitalizations is predicted to be 2,101 by April 24. 

According to the website the point of “no return” for intervention to prevent overload in hospitals across the state is March 24 to March 29. Visit the website here.

Sarah Smith, The George-Anne Managing News Editor, [email protected]