Chatham County Commission looks at impact of COVID-19

Chatham County Commission looks at impact of COVID-19

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Chatham County leaders took time Friday at the commission meeting to warn residents.

“I would like to remind everybody that despite the fact that everybody is out on the street without masks and traffic is picked back up to almost normal we’re still in the middle of a pandemic,” said Dr. Lawton Davis, Director of the Coastal Health District.

Dr. Lawton Davis urged caution as people get back into the public. He told the Chatham County Commission, just because we’re seeing a plateau of cases does not mean we’re in the clear.

Chatham County Commissioners got an update on COVID-19’s impact on our community and the budget. While they say things are looking better they know the impacts of this pandemic will be long lasting.

“We will be in this mode until there is a vaccine,” explained Chairman Al Scott, Chatham County Commission. “Once there is a vaccine we will be in the new normal, until then in the new abnormal.”

Commission Chair Al Scott explained the need for people in the county to continue practicing social distancing, wearing a mask and protecting their fellow citizens. While the Coastal Health District’s number of cases shows a plateau, Dr. Davis says these number represent our past actions.

“This plateau is reflective of what was going on more than three weeks ago all the social distancing,” explained Dr. Lawton Davis, Director of the Coastal Health District. “Now that we’re relieving social distancing I’m going to be very interested to see what our curve looks like in another two or three weeks.”

While Chatham County is the fifth largest county in the state we are ranked 21st for COVID cases. Though this is good, Dr. Davis says it also means several are still susceptible to the virus. That’s why efforts in the community are so critical in addition to what the hospitals, county and national guard are doing to stop the spread. The Georgia National Guard has served in a variety of missions from disinfecting long-term care facilities to helping at food banks. Their services even being mimicked in other states.

“Infection control is something that we started very early on and we reached out and have been able to share those techniques and procedures with at least 14 other states,” said Brigadier General Randall Simmons, Commander Georgia Army National Guard.

Commission members thanked them for their service in this unprecedented time and said their action are truly helping not just our community, but the state.

As the virus continues to impact so many things, county leaders also discussed how it’s affecting the budget at Friday’s meeting.

“We expect to be able to finish the fiscal year that ends June 30th with no major impact to services in the county, no major cuts,” said Chatham County Commission Chairman Al Scott. “We expect to fully fund the budget and that’s because we were conservative in our estimates. Now the fiscal year starting July 1, that’s a different story.”

Chairman Scott says county staff is looking at all opportunities to reduce the budget and save as they move forward.

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