Dear Editor,

By now, everyone should be aware of the order by Governor Kemp for all Georgians to shelter in place (stay at home) due to the health risks associated with the current Coronavirus pandemic.  This means you should be at home, and limit your trips outside of your home to only necessary trips to places like the grocery store, a restaurant for take out or drive through, the bank, the pharmacy, and for medical care, should you need it.  I want to reiterate state and federal guidelines to members of our city and county with regards to the current Coronavirus.  We should all be practicing social distancing by not gathering in groups of 10 or more, and even then we should stay at least 6 ft. away from everyone else.  Those guidelines should apply whether you are at the grocery store, at your job, or anywhere else.  Hopefully, by now most of our churches have decided to conduct alternative style services.  Many are using Facebook live and other internet services to broadcast their services while others are having services in their church parking lots with congregations remaining in their cars at safe distances from others.  We all know that this is the time of year we all want to be in church to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and we all feel that the church is normally our safe place when we have faced problems in the past.  However, in a community the size of ours a church service is unfortunately one of the ways that this disease can spread.  None of our churches need this virus to affect our congregations or any of our other neighbors.  The consequences could be devastating, especially to our older friends and family, as well as others that may have underlying health conditions.  

• Wash your hands frequently

• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth

• Stay home if you are sick

• Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash

• Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces

• Keep away from others who are sick

• Limit close contact with others (6 feet)

• Avoid leaving your home for any nonessential reason (work, grocery store, doctor)

• Watch for potential symptoms: fever, cough, shortness of breath

Do not go to work or out of your house if you are sick.  Should you begin to feel sick, the Department of Health is advising you to first call your primary care doctor or an urgent care clinic.  They do not want people showing up at the hospital or other health care facility and potentially exposing yourself or someone else to the Coronavirus.  Call your doctor first.

Please refer to the Georgia Department of Health website for more information: www.dph.georgia.gov/novelcoronavirus, and also the CDC website: www.coronavirus.gov

For those without internet access, the state of Georgia has a Coronavirus hotline: (844)-442-2681

We can and will get through this, but it will take cooperation from all of us.

Lee Gowen, 

Mayor of Folkston