BLAIRSVILLE, Ga – Enotah Judicial Circuit Chief Judge Raymond George issued a mask requirement for all visiting the courthouses in Union, Towns, White, and Lumpkin Counties.
The mandate will be in place at least until the Delta Variant wave of COVID-19 abates in the area. The order begins on Monday, August 23, 2021.
All who enter the courthouses will be required to wear backs and have their temperature checked.
In the last two weeks, the Department of Public Health has reported 72 cases in Towns, 146 cases in Union, 253 cases in Lumpkin, and 266 in White. Each county is listed as a high transmission area.
Local hospitals continue to report that their hospitals and ICUs are filled with COVID-19 patients.
Last week, Governor Brian Kemp issued an executive order preventing local governments from imposing COVID-19 restrictions on businesses. However, school districts have the power to determine what measures work best for them.
Towns Elementary and Union Primary had to close their buildings for a week after experiencing significant spread throughout the staff and some students.
Anyone experiencing a COVID-19 related system, such as fever, cough, fatigue, should consider being tested for the virus. The Pfizer vaccine received full FDA approval for 16 and older on Monday, August 23. The vaccine is not yet approved for children younger than 12 even for emergency use.
Currently, Towns and Union County have higher vaccination rates than Lumpkin and White. 50 percent of Towns County has received at least one dose of the vaccine with 46 percent fully vaccinated. Union County is 42 percent fully vaccinated.
White and Lumpkin are 31 and 30 percent fully vaccinated.
Some breakthrough cases have occurred with the vaccine, but most of those patients are reporting less severe symptoms and not requiring hospitalization. Around 90 percent of hospitalized cases are individuals who weren’t vaccinated.
The health department, CVS, and Ingles are all offering COVID-19 vaccines. At some locations, an appointment isn’t necessary to get the vaccine.
Blue Ridge, Ga. – Twelve Commission Chairmen from North Georgia counties have joined together and signed a letter asking Governor Brian Kemp to shut down the State Parks.
“It appears that these nonresidents believe our area is a safe haven because of its rural nature. To the contrary, the influx of people into our communities has had a staggering detrimental effect on our resources,” the letter to Kemp read in part.
The letter goes on to outline the resources in our area that have been affected by the out-of-towners looking to seclude themselves, including in these resources are food, dry goods and fuel.
It goes on to inform Kemp that our area is not equipped medically: “Our communities simply do not have enough hospital beds or medical personnel to care for the inflated population.”
Though only serving as a commissioner for a little over three months, Habersham County Commissioner District 5 Tim Stamey felt he needed to be proactive in bringing a solution to this problem: “I am a retired special operator and we don’t sit around talking about things, we get it done.”
Stamey who sits on the County Health Board said, “I’m on the County Health Board and talk to Healthcare workers in my county on a daily basis. They are the heros/heroines in all this. This virus does not spread itself on the wind.”
Moccasin Creek State Park, situated just North of Unicoi State park has been “crazy, 4th of July crazy” for the past three weekends according to Stamey, who has witnessed the impact on his county first hand.
Stamey initially contacted Rabun County Chairman Greg James and White County Chairman Travis Turner.
“I started this by just trying to get border counties on board,” Stamey said and added, “Then Chairmen were like well, did you call such and such, I know they feel the same way. It just kept getting bigger and bigger.”
Stamey said that all Commission Chairmen were helpful, on board, and taking the matter seriously: “I talked to most of them several times and for up to an hour each time.”
Stamey, along with the 12 county chairmen and many residents, is hoping that this letter will get the attention of Kemp. The letter in closing states: “On behalf of the many citizens that live in North Georgia who entrust us as County Commissioners to represent their interests, we respectfully ask you to close all of the state parks located in our area immediately.”