"Accept it: This is the real deal." Dade County boss Ted Rumley urges residents to take the pandemic seriously at today's daily update.
Today's 3 p.m. live-streamed Dade County COVID-19 update was short--less than 15 minutes--with little new information except for a terse acknowledgement of rumors that Dade may now have some cases of the coronavirus of its own.
Although Dade's official case count still stands at zero, County Executive Ted Rumley said the health department has tested some individuals for the virus and that results will be back the first of next week. "We'll let you know on that," he said. Meanwhile, said Rumley, with new cases in Georgia reported every day: "That's something that's probably going to happen."
From health department figures, Georgia deaths from COVID-19 are up to 13 today from 10 on Thursday, reported cases up to 420 from 287. The Georgia Public Health Department has begun updating numbers twice daily, at noon and 7 p.m. (See previous article.)
At the county Administrative Building, said Rumley, there have been instances of taxpayers coming in while sick or bringing their sick children with them, and this has led Dade to begin installation of an outside, drive-through-teller-style window for the Tag and Tax office, the county office that probably gets the most public traffic. "It'll be handy even after this goes away," said the county boss. Work on that will begin next week, he said.
Rumley urged residents not to panic--"We're going to get through this"--but also to take the situation seriously. "Please accept it," he said. "This is the real deal." The epidemic is grimmer even than the Georgia numbers would indicate, he said. "Worldwide, there's one person every 10 minutes dying from this," said Rumley. "That alone will tell you, hey, this is real." Even the Internal Revenue Service has extended the federal tax return deadline from April 15 deadline to July 15, Rumley pointed out.
Dade Emergency Services Director Alex Case told citizens to remember social distancing and to stay home if sick. "Please check on your family and your friends and your elderly," he said.
Dade Schools Central Office official Josh Ingle, standing in for Superintendent Jan Harris, said next week's digital learning schedule for students working at home was Monday-Thursday, then a "screentime springtime break" on Friday when they are free to go outside or read a book. School buses will continue to deliver kids' meals next week on Monday and Wednesday four hours after their regular pickup time. Parents can instead pick up their kids' meals from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. in drive-through services at both Davis and Dade elementary schools, said Ingle.
In closing, county boss Rumley said the live updates will continue Saturday and Sunday though they may be briefer. "Pray for our nation and pray for Dade County," he concluded.