The Athens-Clarke County (ACCGov) Emergency Management Office has received inquiries about the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak and how Athens-Clarke County is responding to concerns. On March 2, 2020, the Georgia Department of Public Health announced the first two confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Georgia in a household in Fulton County in which one family member had recently returned from Italy. There are no confirmed cases in Athens-Clarke County.
"We know that there is a great deal of concern about coronavirus for the public," says J.W. Thaxton, Interim Emergency Management Coordinator. "Although the risk of exposure remains low at this time, we continue to coordinate responses with our local partners based on direction from federal, state, and regional health officials."
The ACCGov Emergency Management Office would like the public to know and consider the following:
- A webpage on the ACCGov website at www.accgov.com/coronavirus provides links to various resources and updated local information.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) are the lead agencies in Georgia’s response to COVID-19.
- Athens-Clarke County residents should follow these agencies’ coronavirus webpages for updates and recommendations.
- The Northeast Health District of the Georgia Department of Public Health is the lead agency in the 10-county area’s response to COVID-19. ACCGov Emergency Management will continue to work closely with the Northeast Health District to ensure the response in Athens-Clarke County is appropriate for the situation.
- Although the Georgia DPH considers the risk low to Georgia’s general population, the ACCGov Emergency Management Office encourages residents to review their emergency plans and for local businesses to review their business continuity plans. More information on preparing for COVID-19 and other emergency events is available at www.ready.gov.
"Residents can help protect themselves from a variety of diseases, including coronavirus and the flu, through several simple steps such as developing habits of frequently washing or sanitizing their hands, avoiding touching their eyes, nose, or mouth, and disinfecting frequently-touched objects and surfaces," says Thaxton. "We also encourage residents and businesses to take some time to review emergency preparation recommendations and their own emergency plans before the need arises to put them into action."
Part of the ACCGov Fire and Emergency Services Department, the Emergency Management Office provides a comprehensive and aggressive all-hazards approach to homeland security and disaster initiatives, mitigation, preparedness, response, recovery, and special events. Its purpose is to protect life and property and to prevent and/or reduce the negative impact of natural and man-made events in Athens-Clarke County.
For more information about the ACCGov Emergency Management Office, visit www.accgov.com/ema or call 706-613-3410.