DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — DeKalb County held its second COVID-19 virtual town hall meeting March 19 to address fears and misconceptions surrounding the pandemic.

Michael Thrumond Dekalb County CEO

DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond’s main message was that the county will continue essential services.

Panelists discussed medical updates, distance learning and county and municipal preparedness, and answered questions submitted from residents

“These are interesting times to say the least,” County Commissioner Steve Bradshaw said. “The coronavirus has presented us with some challenges, but these are challenges we will meet and ultimately overcome together.”

DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond’s main message was that the county will continue essential services like water treatment, sewage and sanitation uninterrupted. He encouraged residents to thank these unsung heroes, as well as first responders and healthcare professionals.

District Health Director Dr. Elizabeth Ford and Dr. Alexander Isakov, the founding executive director of Emory University’s Office of Critical Event Preparedness and Response, shared their medical expertise.

They noted new research indicates COVID-19 can survive on surfaces for hours or possibly even days, heightening the importance of sanitizing surfaces. Doctors now do not recommend taking Advil or Ibuprofen to treat symptoms of the coronavirus, they said.

While they recommended everyone act as though they are sick and minimize their contact with others, they noted this does not mean staying indoors. Walks, runs or hikes outdoors are not only safe, but a great way to maintain your physical and mental health during this period of “social distancing,” they said.

“I prefer to call it physical distancing,” Ford said. “We are actually trying to encourage a social connection. We’re encouraging social media for folks who are quarantined. Everyone has cabin fever like nothing I’ve ever seen, so we’re encouraging people to reach out and connect with each other in other ways.”

School District Interim Superintendent Ramona Tyson answered questions about online learning. To view the entire town hall, visit facebook.com/ItsInDeKalbGA/.

DeKalb County closed all government facilities to the public beginning March 16. County services are still be available via email, telephone and standard mail delivery. For specifics about each department’s services, visit the county website.

All DeKalb County Tax Commissioner’s Offices are closed to the public until further notice. Taxpayers can utilize Kroger kiosks and the tax commissioner’s website for tag renewals and property tax exemption applications.

Documents may also be submitted via email, fax and drop box. Visit DeKalbTax.org for information on how to submit the necessary paperwork for processing and updates.

DeKalb County Superior Court Chief Judge Asha Jackson has issued an order suspending all non-essential court functions.

All Magistrate Court Civil Calendars are postponed until further notice. Magistrate Court Criminal Division will continue to operate on its regular schedule with limited access to the public. Bond hearings will be held in accordance with the regular schedule, while preliminary hearings, warrant application hearings, abandonment hearings, criminal warrant applications and weddings are suspended until further notice.

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