COVID-19 precautions encouraged by Commissioner Bradshaw

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HIAWASSEE, Ga – Sole Commissioner Cliff Bradshaw and Chief Superior Court Judge Raymond George are recommending everyone to wear a mask and get vaccinated.

At the August meeting, Bradshaw announced he would be posting a letter from George urging everyone to be safe.

“Cases of coronavirus, COVID, or the variants thereof are rapidly increasing through our area while the mask mandate and social distance may not be a requirement at this time, they are encouraged. COVID-19 vaccines are strongly encouraged. They will benefit you and all those around you. Practice of good personal hygiene is also encouraged. Please be considerate of others do not enter if you are running a fever, coughing, or sneezing,” George wrote.

Bradshaw explained that the do not enter applied to the courtroom and any public place. Additionally, the commissioner confirmed he didn’t believe mandates were the best way to encourage safety habits but asks everyone to consider their health and the health of others when out in public.

“From your commissioner to you, I ask that you take precautions and do whatever you feel you need to do to keep yourself safe,” Bradshaw told the audience.

The county governments also seeing an increase in cases among employees. Schedules are being adjusted to account for quarantines and isolations due to COVID-19 cases.

“We’re working hard to keep our people safe and keep them on the job,” Bradshaw added.

Local area hospitals are currently full of COVID-19 patients. Towns County Elementary closed for the week because of an outbreak, and Clay County Schools enacted a mask mandate to prevent spread.

Department of Public Health is in the process of rolling out new testing sites, but it’s unclear if a facility will once again be available in Towns County. The closest DPH testing sites to Towns County are in Ellijay, Gainesville, and Dalton. A center in Lumpkin is listed to open on August 27.

Pharmacies continue to make COVID-19 tests available by appointment and at-home tests can be purchased at pharmacies or online.

The DPH Director Kathleen Toomey recommended that anyone who tests at home to test in person as well. The in-person tests allow DPH to gain an accurate understanding of community spread and contact trace.

Sand Bar and Hwy. 76

Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) has laid down rubber strips in front of the Sand Bar to determine the amount of and speed of traffic. The county and GDOT are discussing methods to make the area safer after the death of a young woman who was crossing the road.

“We’ve heard back from our district engineer,” Bradshaw stated. “They’ve got the plans ready on what they think they should do.”

The contract with Waste Management Services has increased to $3.02 a ton. Waste Management hauls solid waste out of Towns. The county’s determining how it will affect everyone but expect a rate increase that will trickle down to the homeowners by way of local haulers raising prices.

Caliber was hired to develop more accurate 911 maps to see all over the county. The contract agreement was $4,000.

The joint contract with UGA for the salary of the Towns County 4-H CEPA was signed. The county pays $5,534 as its portion of the agreement.

Towns agreed to pay Legacy Link $112,000 for their services at the Senior Citizens building for the senior program.

The final $5,739 in the 2011 SPLOST was spent to complete the new fire station.

An agreement with GEMA was signed to ensure mutual aid and assistance in any emergency or disaster.

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