County commissioners approve COVID-19 marketing campaign, sets up return to work policy for employees

Floyd County Commissioners are masked and distanced Tuesday as they read over their resolution recommending that masks be worn in public spaces around the county when social distancing isn't possible.

Floyd County commissioners are launching a publicity campaign to promote COVID-19 safety precautions on the heels of a resolution encouraging residents to wear masks.

“We are looking at marketing plans specific for encouraging the citizens in our community to join together in following the three Ws: watching your distance, washing your hands and wearing your mask,” County Clerk Erin Elrod said.

Elrod is spearheading the campaign and plans to make a series of videos, graphics and billboards.

She said she is working to enlist trusted members of the community to be featured in some of the spots. Some examples include doctors from local hospitals, teachers, religious leaders and small business owners.

Chair Scotty Hancock said the resolution recommends the use of masks whenever it is not possible to socially distance from other people. He said that the city ordinance requiring masks would be difficult to enforce in the more rural parts of the county.

“This commission takes COVID-19 very seriously and we want to do what’s in the best interest of the citizens of Floyd County,” he said. “We request everyone to wear a mask at all times, not just to protect yourself but to protect others.”

The board also signed off on a policy requiring all county employees to wear a mask at work when they can’t socially distance. It includes a mask mandate for anyone who enters a county building.

“We’re trying to protect not only ourselves from the public, but the public from ourselves,” County Manager Jamie McCord said. “We’ve had several exposures and several positive tests in our county’s workforce.”

Commissioners approved a return to work policy for employees who test positive for COVID-19 as well.

An employee who tests positive for the virus or exhibits COVID-19 symptoms — such as fever, cough, sore throat or loss of taste and smell — must quarantine in their home for at least 10 days.

Requirements to return to work also include having no fever for 72 hours and testing negative twice in a row, 24 hours apart. An asymptomatic employee also must test negative twice.

While the employee is out, they will be on administrative leave with pay.

Floyd County had 29 new confirmed positive COVID-19 cases Wednesday, bringing the total to 784. Of the 784 cases, 60 have required hospitalization and 15 people have died from the virus.

Local hospitals were treating 33 COVID-19 patients — 23 at Floyd Medical Center and 10 at Redmond Regional Medical Center — although they aren’t necessarily local residents.

Statewide, the Georgia Department of Public Health reported 3,871 new cases Wednesday, for a cumulative total of 127,834 cases. The state reported 37 deaths as well, bringing the number to 3,091.

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