City and County Officials Update on COVID-19 Response

By Jeremy Coumbes on April 1, 2020 at 6:09pm

City and county officials took to the internet today to update area residents on the COVID-19 response.

Jacksonville Mayor Andy Ezard and Morgan County Health Department Administrator Dale Bainter gave the online update via the Jacksonville and Morgan County Office of Emergency Management Facebook page this afternoon.

Mayor Ezard updated area residents on steps the city has taken to follow the recently extended stay at home order, and social distancing practices. City parks are remaining open, however the playgrounds are closed.

The Links Golf course will also remain closed until further notice. Ezard says that the city brush drop off site and recreational trails are still open at this time as well.

Ezard says that he knows the closures are a burden to residents as he called for residents to work together at this time.

Please know our essential function of local government is to protect the health, life and safety issues that we face. We are here to help, and always remember we are a strong community. We are all in this together, and everyone can make a difference through social distancing.

Bainter says that the health department is working to help contain the spread of the virus. Communicable disease staff is tracking exposures, approving tests and quarantining and isolationg individuals as needed.

Bainter says that social distancing and staying at home is still the key factor in suppressing the spread of the virus. Bainter says that promoting accurate information is another way, area residents can help minimize risk.

Be socially responsible, don’t spread rumors. It’s difficult enough for us to get the accurate information out to our community. To be combating these rumors on social media, makes that more difficult. Distance yourself from others, and think, is this a necessary activity. We need to stay at home, and do only things that are necessary for our daily activities.

Why are these restrictions so important? I want us to think about scale for a moment. The city of Chicago has approximately 2.7 million people, with about 2,700 cases of COVID-19. To compare that with Morgan County, we have approximately 34,000 people in our county. That would equate to 34 people being sick, and putting a strain on our healthcare system.”

Bainter says the restrictions that have been put in place are the only measure area officials have to prevent a possible out break that could overwhelm the healthcare system.

Mayor Ezard thanked first responders in the area and asked the public to be patient as they work to answer calls as quickly as possible.

Ezard says that the Jacksonville City Counsel will hold their next session scheduled for Monday, however the meeting will be held by teleconference, and details will be announced in the coming days.