“The most important thing is that we want to keep each other safe, our families safe and our community safe.”
– Fred Perriman Mayor of Madison
By Tia Lynn Ivey
Thanksgiving is upon us, but many of the beloved traditions will be sacrificed this year as the ongoing coronavirus spikes across the nation.
As of press time on Tuesday Nov. 24, Morgan County has reported a total of 572 coronavirus cases since the beginning of the pandemic. Seven people have reportedly died from the coronavirus in Morgan County and another 45 have been hospitalized. Across the state, cases numbers and hospitalizations are trending upwards, as state and local officials implore citizens to remain “vigilant” during the holiday season. Last Saturday, The Georgia Department of Public Health reported 402,435 cumulative COVID-19 cases, up by more than 3,000 new cases in just 24 hours.
Georgia Governor Brian Kemp is calling on all Georgians to scale back Thanksgiving celebrations with extended family and large gatherings as case numbers and hospitalizations are back on the rise. He also asked Georgians to wear masks, wash their hands, and social distance. However, the governor stopped short of issuing a mandate, keeping adherence voluntary. Although, Kemp has given certain municipalities the authority to instate local mask ordinances and other regulations designed to slow the spread of COVID-19.
On Monday, Nov. 23, Kemp urged citizens to “hunker down and stay vigilant” in the midst of a “once-in-century pandemic.”
“Our fight with COVID-19 has uprooted so many of the norms we are used to and I know it has been hard on Georgia and their families,” Kemp said. “But we cannot let up.”
Kemp suggested Georgians get creative to celebrate Thanksgiving this year.
“If possible, consider options for gathering virtually or limiting your holiday gatherings to only a few people in the same household,” he said. “If weather permits, gather outside to reduce the risk of exposure indoors.”
Madison Mayor Fred Perriman also issued a statement asking citizens to stay home this year.
“I would just encourage our citizens here to be extra careful, even though we want to spend time with our families, but for safety’s sake, I would urge them this year to be with your immediate family at home and next year plan something big to celebrate,” said Perriman. “The most important thing is that we want to keep each other safe, our families safe and our community safe. Continue to keep distance, wear your mask and wash your hands. It’s tough on all of us, but I agree with our scientists and doctors. This stuff is crazy and we don’t want it to come back to our community if we can help it.”
Kemp encouraged travelers to social distance from people they do not usually see in person. He stressed consideration for the elderly and immunocompromised, who are most at risk once contracting the virus.
“Please, if you have people in your life who are more vulnerable to COVID-19, including the elderly and those with underlying medical conditions, consider the risk of including them in holiday gatherings,” he said.
Kemp also asked Georgians to make sure they get this year’s flu shot in order to prevent a “twin pandemic,” in which serious flu cases and coronavirus cases overwhelm healthcare workers, overflow facilities, and deplete critical medical resources.
“If all Georgians commit to using best practices in heeding the advice of our public health officials, we can win this fight and return to normal safely and quickly,” said Kemp.