Habersham County to Hold Emergency Called Meeting Saturday Morning After 1st Confirmed Case

Habersham Co. - Habersham County has joined other counties on the Georgia Department of Public Health's daily COVID-19 report.

The report shows how many Coronavirus cases Georgia has by each county.

As if Friday, March 27, Habersham, Stephens, and White Counties all have one confirmed case each. Georgia collectively has 2,001 cases, 566 patients hospitalized with COVID-19, and 64 deaths as a result of the virus.

Habersham County Manager Phil Sutton says in a release, “This patient is not currently hospitalized at Habersham Medical Center (HMC) and was not tested through HMC. HMC is prepared to receive positive cases but, to date, there have been no positive test results for COVID-19 at HMC.”

According to Tyler Williams, VP of Strategy and Business Development at HMC, “To date, Habersham Medical Center has tested 21 patients. 19 of the 21 tests have come back negative for COVID-19. Two of the tests are still pending results as they were submitted to the lab for testing within the last 24 hours. Habersham Medical Center is encouraging everyone to do their part to prevent the spread of illness by practicing social distancing, proper hand hygiene, cough etiquette and disinfecting surfaces.”

Commission Chairman Stacy Hall tells WCHM, “The hospital and the County are in constant communication as well as all of our first responders in the county.”  

The Habersham County Board of Commissioners is scheduled to have an emergency called meeting tomorrow, Saturday, March 28, at 9 a.m. 

“We anticipate the Commission will approve a local State of Emergency Declaration and additional directives to provide guidance for the safety and well-being of Habersham County citizens,” Sutton says. “We strongly urge the citizens of Habersham County to shelter in place and adhere to CDC and DPH guidelines.”

Sutton continues, saying “Our management teams have been meeting regularly in anticipation that COVID-19 would eventually come to Habersham County and preparations have been ongoing for several weeks to respond to cases of COVID-19 once they emerged.”

“Habersham County government, the Emergency Services Department, Sheriff’s Department, and Habersham Medical Center have all been preparing diligently to ensure an effective response to cases of COVID-19,” Sutton notes.

Emergency Services Director Chad Black tells WCHM, “we have had plans in place now for 3 weeks or about, in how the 911 Center responds to calls for EMS, with specific questions to determine if we are responding to a potential Covid-19 related calls with signs and symptoms. Of course, those plans and processes have been updated multiple times since the original plans were implemented as you probably understand with so many changes daily. We also have an Incident Action Plan ready to implement in the event our calls do increase beyond the capabilities of our current staffing.” 

“We feel very good with our contingency planning and if we have to implement the Incident Action Plan, but we are praying we just put a lot of work into developing the plans and will not have to utilize them,” Black says.

Currently, Habersham emergency authorities are wearing personal protective gear when handling emergency calls. They are also applying a Bioesque Solution to emergency vehicles and buildings. The solution is reported to kill viruses in less than five minutes on contact and will last up to 30 or 45 days.

“It does not change anything we are doing currently, nor do I see if we have more positive cases that change anything unless we see an increase in call request, then some changes will occur for our department,” Black says. “Our calls are actually a little down compared to the norm, but we are seeing more general sick calls with fever, cough, etc.” 

The emergency called meeting will be held via teleconference and the public is welcomed to join by using the information below:

  • Dial In: 470-588-9497
  • Access Code: 369 714 356

To check the daily DPH report, click here.