by: Summer Kelley
Nine years ago to the day, on April 27, Dade County was hit by multiple tornadoes over the course of one day. County Executive Ted Rumley reminded everyone of the anniversary during Monday's COVID-19 Update after reporting on the progress of clean up from the storm which produced and EF-1 tornado and downbursts in Dade County on Easter Sunday. Rumley said clean up was going really smooth and asked citizens to keep putting their brush on the edge of the road. Once the brush is at the edge of the road, they need to call the county office at 706-657-4625. For county residents with property along state highways, the county is getting a number for them to call to have the brush picked up by the state, but if they need to they can call the county and they will relay it to the state. Rumley said the state is working on a pickup schedule for brush along state roadways.
COVID-19 testing at the Ready Clinic in Lafayette has stopped. Rumley said the clinic has run out of testing kits and they are not sure when more will be available. Rumley said the county is working on getting a drive-thru testing facility in Dade County and had talked to Memorial, but there is a shortage of testing kits. Memorial suggested contacting GEMA to see if the county can order kits through them and the county has two other hospitals to talk to regarding testing kits as well. If someone has the symptoms of COVID-19, they need to talk to their doctor and get a referral for testing. The nearest testing site for Georgia citizens is the Walker County Health Department. The testing is free for those who have the symptoms and a referral.
Mayor Alex Case announced that the city would resume weekly brush pickup every Thursday. If you do have brush for pickup, Case said to call the city office at 706-657-4167 to get on the list.
Case said the city had received several inquiries about the city pool opening this summer and he and Commissioner Terry Powell did have some conversation today regarding the pool and city civic center. Case said they are waiting to see more information on the phases for re-opening that the White House is going to give the Governors to push out. Phase I, has a very strict guideline for groups, phase 2 moderate steps, and phase 3 is limited guidelines. Case said the city is within so many weeks of normally opening the pool on Memorial Day and they will continue to make preparations to continue to get the pool prepared or chemicals purchased for that.
Governor Kemp is asking for more assistance for individuals in Dade, Catoosa, Murray and Union County and is waiting to see if that gets signed by the President, according to Case. The American Red Cross has assisted a lot of families from the storms and there have been private pledges from businesses, gift cards, other things. Case said they have received a few calls from people who have so much damage to homes, temporary repairs were made, but they are still continuing to have some leaks with all the rain we have had. A few faith based groups have taken on a couple of projects for storm recovery. Any faith based organization can contact the office at 706-657-4111 and Case says they have a list of needs that need to be met. The county is still trying to help some displaced families and individuals to find places in the county to rent. All of them are on a fixed income of some kind with social security or disability and are individuals, a single adult with a child or a grandchild. So far rent has been too pricey and they are looking for anything affordable.
The city and county are working on protection for employees and community when city and county offices open back up. Case said they are looking at the 20 guidelines and asked that everyone please be "patient with both of us as we work on measures to protect these employees". Rumley announced that county offices are set to open to semi-normal business on May 4.
Superintendent Dr. Jan Harris reported the school system has supplied over 69,000 meals to students in Dade County. Harris said Dade County schools applied for and were approved to start delivering seven meals one day a week. Starting Wednesday, the school will deliver seven days worth of breakfast and lunch by bus to students. One time delivery on Wednesday each week will continue from here on. Parents can still pick up at meals on Wednesdays at Dade Elementary and Davis Elementary from 10 am to 1 pm.
Dr. Harris asked parents to read the weekly message from the superintendent each week. The Weekly Message can be found on the school website under superintendent and weekly messages. Harris announced that the school system has plans solidified, as much as they can during this time of change, for a drive-in graduation celebration on Friday, May 22 at sunset, or 9 pm. Harris said to watch for information on how to get your ticket to the celebration. There is a tentative plan for traditional commencement ceremony on Friday, June 26 and make up dates have been set just in case. Prom is also a tentative date for June 19. Last day for instruction for students is May 15. That week students will be able to turn in work and pick up items from school. Watch for information from principals for special events planned for end of the year.
"Our motto is "We are not just surviving, we are thriving during this time," Harris said.
Deputy Tommy Bradford said at Cloudland Canyon everything is going well. They had to close the park one time this weekend. DNR has handled all of it. If you have any questions regarding Cloudland Canyon, you can call the Dade County Sheriff's Office at 657-3233.
View the full April 27, COVID-19 Update below.