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County, city remind people to stay home
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Liberty County Administrator Joey Brown, Hinesville City Manager Kenneth Howard, the mayors of Flemington, Walthourville and Hinesville, and Liberty Regional Medical Center CEO Tammy Mims addressed questions Wednesday morning during a COVID-19 update live-streamed on the county’s Facebook page.

The group reminded residents to stay home and maintain the 6-foot social distance from others during outings for essential items such as grocery shopping or picking up medications.

Liberty Regional Medical Center CEO Tammy Mims said the hospital is currently treating a few patients with coronavirus and the staff is preparing for the possibility of having to treat more.
“Liberty Regional is prepared for any type of surge in patients we may have in the future and we continue to take care of those who have urgent or emergent needs,” she said. “We have made preparations to keep our patients and community safe.”

Mims said they are not allowing visitors in the hospital or at Coastal Manor long term facility in Ludowici.
She said there are a few exceptions -- such as if the patient is a child or a patient is facing an end of life situation. Mims said during those circumstances they are allowing a parent or loved one to visit after screening.
She thanked her staff, those on the front lines in the pandemic and the community for all the support.
Mims reminded people that testing can only be offered after a patient gets a referral from a primary care physician or through a various telemedicine platforms.

She said once a test is approved, LRMC can test and the specimens are sent off to a lab for analysis.

Hinesville Mayor Allen Brown said residents are doing a great job of following the CDC guidelines.

“It is an interesting time we are living in right now,” he said. “Our situation is a global one and those don’t come very often. When they do it is imperative that we all pay attention to the events around us. It is way bigger than just us and there is no playbook for what we are going through now.”

Brown encouraged residents to abide by Gov. Brian Kemp’s order to shelter in place, which has been extended to the end of April. Kemp also planned on extending Georgia's state of public health emergency through May 13.

“While this order is in effect the city will abide by the Governor’s order and enforce it,” Brown said. “Nothing more and nothing less. That is the law. If we place physical distance between ourselves, we can begin to ensure that the cases in Liberty County will stay low. Stay apart, so we can come together again.”

Walthourville Mayor Larry Baker said everyone should take the coronavirus pandemic seriously. He said the offices and public parks in the city of Walthourville are closed. He said garbage will continue to be collected on the regular schedule.
“We do have a drop box for our water bills,” Baker said. “And we will not be turning any water off at this time.”
Resident of Walthourville can call 368-7501 or 977-6889 if they have any questions or concerns.

Flemington Mayor Paul Hawkins said his city is also following the governor’s orders. He said City Hall is open from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. every day as they only employ one city clerk.
He said restaurants in his jurisdiction are complying with take-out and curbside orders only. He commended the Parker’s convenience store for following strict CDC guidelines.

Hinesville City Manager Kenneth Howard said all city facilities are closed to the public.
“However, we are still taking water bill payments,” he said. “We are currently accepting applications for construction projects. Our inspection department is working diligently and taking appointments for inspections. You can call the inspection department to set up your inspection.”
Howard said everything is being done under the CDC guidelines.
He added police are actively patrolling and monitoring neighborhoods and that a man was recently issued a cease and desist order after he tried to sell Howard stuff at his home in Riceboro.
County Administrator Joey Brown said roads and sanitation operations are still on schedule. The county offices are closed to public traffic. Brown said phone numbers are posted on the doors to call for assistance as needed.
Brown said county commissioners are waiting to see the governor's new order to see if they need to amend their orders. He said vehicle tags and registration deadlines have been extended until May 15 but that might be extended under the new order.

Brown said churches are discouraged to hold in-person services unless they can comply with the Governor’s order.
“Or they are subject to enforcement and penalties of $1,000 fine or six months in prison per offense,” he said.

Brown said people should remain at home from 6 p.m. until 9 a.m. per the Governor’s orders. He added people should limit visitors to their homes and wear face masks if go out to protect themselves and others.

Brown did announce that the Sunbury Public Boat ramp is back open after being destroyed by Hurricane Irma in 2017
“And yes, you can go fishing as long as you can still follow the CDC guidelines,” he said.

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