After several days in quarantine and pervasive rumors, Floyd Medical Center stated, as of Friday, we had a case of novel coronavirus, COVID-19, in Floyd County.

Here’s the message: Don’t panic.

That being said, this is a public health issue and the public should be made aware that there are reasons to take precautions.

There are nearly 200 people in self-imposed quarantine in Georgia for this virus at any given time, according to the Department of Public Health, and as testing gets more widespread we’re going to see more positive cases.

As part of Floyd Medical Center’s response to the case they’ve asked several employees who may have been exposed to the virus to self-quarantine or self-monitor.

Our healthcare leaders need to continue to be communicative.

We saw that communication in a gathering of city, county and school leadership on Friday morning.

That’s the kind of information exchange we need to see continue. We all need to work together to keep information accurate and timely.

We’ll do our part.

We’d like to encourage local and state healthcare officials to continue being transparent and cooperative — not only with us but also with each other.

This isn’t the time for competition — this is the time to work to quell rumors and give accurate information to the public.

Those who have been infected with the virus shouldn’t be vilified, or even necessarily identified in media reports — but those at risk should know they’ve been exposed.

When state and local leaders and health officials work toward the goal of open communication, it builds trust from within the community. We’re going to need that trust built up in case of any future emergency.

As your neighbors and constituents, we would like to thank our local leaders for being proactive and transparent. While this isn’t a life-or-death situation yet, we really don’t know what’s going to happen next.

Here at the newspaper we’ll do our best to keep you informed of the situation.

There’s certainly reason to prepare and apparently one of the ways is to wash your hands thoroughly and regularly ... also, fist bump your comrades instead of shaking hands.

According to the Georgia Department of Public Health, here are a few reminders about how to prepare:

Use the same measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 as you would use for any virus:

♦ Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

♦ Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.

♦ Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

♦ Stay home when you are sick.

♦ Cough or sneeze into a tissue to cover it, then throw the tissue in the trash.

♦ Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

♦ The best prevention against the flu is vaccination. Flu is still widespread and active in Georgia — it’s not too late to get a flu shot.

The virus is still not widespread in Georgia but we can expect more cases. Also, our public health officials are learning more and more about this virus every day. With that, their advice may change as they learn more.

We’re all going to have to pay attention, monitor the situation and wash our hands thoroughly while we see how this virus plays out.

Thank you for reading.

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