"Things keep going up," said Dade County Executive Chairman Ted Rumley at today's 3 p.m. county COVID-19 live-streamed update. Total Georgia cases as of noon today were 1525, up from 1247 Wednesday, and total Georgia deaths from the virus had gone from 40 to 48. Dade still has no reported cases.
"We're still in the white," said Rumley, referring to the color coding on the Georgia Department of Health's daily COVID-19 case report (available online by clicking the icon at right).
The county boss also said Trenton's Southeastern Lineman Training Center graduated its current class on Wednesday. "That was a big group of people that will be going back home," he said. SLTC trains over 200 linemen in four-month sessions several times a year. Rumley said the school will play by ear whether to start its next class as scheduled on May 4.
Rumley veered off subject to add for those affected: "We have gotten County Road 6 back up and running," then went on to announce that Cloudland Canyon State Park is still open for those who want to enjoy the beautiful weather outdoors. Don't congregate, said the Boss, but: "It doesn't hurt anything to get out and walk."
Trenton United Methodists's community luncheon for firefighters, scheduled for noon Friday, has been postponed, said Rumley, and he reminded all of Gov. Kemp's town hall on the virus tonight at 8 p.m. It should be aired on all local and national TV and local radio stations.
Rumley and Sgt. Chad Payne of the sheriff's office warned of a new scam: people selling COVID-19 tests door to door. Sgt. Payne said the SO has also had reports of people offering to sanitize home ductwork. "Be mindful of these things," said Sgt. Payne. "No one is going door to door legitimately testing for COVID-19." Part of a newspaper's job being to point out the obvious, The Planet will interject here that in these days of quarantine readers should look askance--and through the peephole--at anyone selling anything door-to-door.
Dade County Probate Judge Kerri Carter said the chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court had issued a judicial order limiting all courts to perform only essential services. In her case, that meant among other things she could no longer issue weapon-carry permits, but: "That order serves to suspend timelines and deadlines."
This means, she said, citizens have 30 days after the expiration of their permit to renew it without having to be re-fingerprinted. The order was issued on March 14, she said, and: "Whatever your status of your permit was on that day will be the status of that permit on the day that order expires, which is now set to be April 13."
Marry In Haste...
Otherwise, the other essential functions the probate court will continue performing are emergency guardianships, medical consent guardianships and vital records. The court will also be issuing marriage licenses but Judge Carter advised, if you haven't already got a ceremony scheduled, that you hold your horses. [The Planet, being the kind of newspaper it is, must interject here that this is prudent advice even in non-pandemic times.]
Those who need to file a probate petition may do so by mail, to P.O. Box 605, Trenton, GA 30752. Judge Carter added that if you have an emergency situation the probate court is communicating through the courthouse door or by phone--call (706) 657-4414.
Deputy Tax Commissioner Angie Galloway said deadlines have also been extended for car tag renewals. If your birthday is between March 16 and May15, she said, you can renew your tag later without paying a penalty. How much later? The Planet called Ms. Galloway to ask and she said that hadn't been addressed yet but she was sure the state would make it clear in the long run. The same undefined extension applies for paying the tag tax on an automobile bought from an individual, though not from a dealership.
Otherwise, Ms. Galloway said her office's new way of doing business through the teller window installed over the weekend in the Administrative Building is working fine, but if you don't want to come to the window you can call. That number is (706) 657-7563. And if you do come, she said, you can sit in your car until there's no line. "They are watching the window and there's also a bell," she said.
On the subject of official documents and extensions, Boss Rumley added that Georgia is issuing an 120-day extension on driver's licenses, so if your birthday is this month you shouldn't stress about renewing it. County Clerk Don Townsend pointed out in Wednesday's update that many driver's licenses can in any case be renewed online at georgiademp.org.
Dade Schools Superintendent Jan Harris blew a kiss to out-of-class students with the message. "We love you and miss you." But it will have to remain a long-distance relationship--or should we say a social-distance relationship--because the super reiterated her message of earlier today that the schools had been closed for another month. The governor ordered them closed today until April 24.
For those wondering about the high school's important rites of passage--will there be a prom? What about graduation?--Dr. Harris could only say: "We don't know yet." She and the Dade Board of Education will be considering that in days to come, she said. The school board is to hold its delayed March meeting at noon on Monday, March 30, at the Dade Board of Education. It is to be carefully social-distanced, with no more than 10 people in the boardroom.
Chairman Rumley reminded all that these updates happen once a day and asked anyone who had questions to email Deputy Clerk Carey Anderson or call him at (423) 667-8999. "I'll make sure tomorrow we'll answer them," he said.
The Planet will observe in parting that if the pandemic has changed life in Dade County, it has also changed death. Here is an excerpt from a recent obituary published in The Planet:
The family will provide gloves, masks and hand sanitizer at the church for those who wish to be present for viewing. The family will also provide a link for live feed of the service for those who cannot attend. Pursuant to Georgia State law, the family may have to limit attendance to the funeral.